Argentina Considers Late Entry To Host The 2026 Winter Olympic Games If Opportunity Presents

The Argentina Olympic Committee (COA) says it has launched a feasibility study to investigate a possible Olympic and Paralympic Games bid to be held in 2030, or in 2026 if the opportunity presents itself.

IOC President Thomas Bach (left) during the Olympism In Action forum with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and Jennifer Dahlgren (IOC Photo)

IOC President Thomas Bach (left) during the Olympism In Action forum with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and Jennifer Dahlgren (IOC Photo)

Ice events would be staged in Buenos Aires and the snow events would be held in Ushuaia, considered the southernmost city in the world.  The cities are separated by about 3,000 kilometers.

Buenos Aires last month successfully hosted the Youth Olympic Games and Argentine President Mauricio Macri told IOC President Thomas Bach at the outset that the city would begin to investigate a Summer Games bid.  Bach encouraged plans at the conclusion of the Games.

According to a statement, “The Argentine Olympic Committee informs that it is analyzing the feasibility of a joint candidacy between the cities of Buenos Aires and Ushuaia for the celebration of the 2026 Winter Olympics at the End of the World.”

The Winter Games have never been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

COA President Gerardo Werthein added “With the prospect of a potential future candidacy for the 2030 Winter Olympics, we are able to assess in a responsible manner a joint candidacy for the 2026 Winter Olympics in the case the opportunity surges.”

The COA claim that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been notified of the plan, even as the deadline to apply for the 2026 Games closed the door to new entrants last April (GamesBids.com has contacted the IOC for comment).  Seven cities entered the race, but three cities including Graz in Austria, Sion in Switzerland and Sapporo in Japan have dropped out, and Erzurum in Turkey was dismissed by the IOC because it deemed the plans too costly.

Three bids including from Calgary in Canada, Stockholm in Sweden and jointly between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy remain in the race.

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But Calgary will face a potentially bid-ending plebiscite November 13 and both Stockholm and Italy’s joint bid are scrambling to secure necessary government guarantees and lock down plans ahead of a January 11 bid book deadline.  Bach said last month that if all bids fail, there is no plan ‘B’.

Meanwhile, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) recently launched an abbreviated domestic nomination process to find a future Winter Olympic candidate from among Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe.  Salt Lake City is being touted the frontrunner in the race due to its wealth of existing venues from the 2002 Games, and high public support.

The USOC will nominate its choice before the end of December, after only a few weeks of investigation, readying the city for 2026 should that race go to zero in January.  The organization denies 2026 is in its plans despite notes in its Board of Directors meeting minutes that there is interest in a 2026, 2030 or later Winter Games.

The IOC plans to elect the host city at the end of June in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil