Decision On Innsbruck 2026 Olympic Winter Games Bid Expected By September

Innsbruck hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976 and the Youth Olympic Winter Games in 2012

Innsbruck hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976 and the Youth Olympic Winter Games in 2012

With a feasibility study already underway for an Innsbruck 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, to be held jointly with Tyrol, officials are looking forward optimistically and expect to decide whether to file an application by September this year.

The study, being conducted on behalf of the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) by Pro Projekt, will be available for review in May.

Innsbruck hosted the Games in 1960 and then again in 1976 in place of the city of Denver that withdrew after already being selected to stage the competitions.  The Austrian city also staged the inaugural Youth Winter Olympics in 2012.

The study addresses questions about sports facilities, transport, accommodation as well as the sustainability and financing of the project. In order to also evaluate the consent of the population, a report by the ÖOC says, the involvement of the citizens in Tyrol and Innsbruck is required.

“One thing is clear to us, if the feasibility study reveals that this new path we are going to take is possible for an Olympiad promotion of Tyrol and Innsbruck, we will then inform the population comprehensively and take a goal-oriented approach on the basis of a broad participation process” Tyrol’s Günther Platter and Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer said Wednesday.

“The support of the Tyroleans for the organization of the Olympic Games in our country and the city is decisive for the success of this project,” they added.

“The support of the population must be there. This is why it is only logical for us to interview the population in the whole of Tyrol on this issue and also to see the results bound.  In addition, further forms of citizens’ participation are to be put into action.”

If support is to be measured in the form of of a referendum, a potential bid would have a high hurdle to jump after a string of lost Olympic Winter Games referendums across Europe including recently from Davos in Switzerland, Krakow in Poland, Munich, and many more dating back to bids for the 2010 Games.  Last week Budapest became the third European city to drop a 2024 Summer Games bid after there was a threat of a referendum, and the confidence to win it was lacking.

Interest in bidding for the Olympic Winter Games has diminished over the past two decades

Interest in bidding for the Olympic Winter Games has diminished over the past two decades (click to enlarge)

Skyrocketing organization costs and the resulting unsustainable legacies of recent past Games are usually to blame for lack of public approval.

The feasibility study is expected to include proposals for possible forms of participation, the ÖOC report said, an in addition to Host City Innsbruck, hosting the competitions would extend to various locations throughout the country.

“We want to pursue an environmentally-friendly path, which also provides for infrastructure measures, which represent an advantage for the Tyrolean population in the medium and long term, I see here a huge opportunity for Tyrol and its future,” Platter said.

On Wednesday Karl Stoss was re-elected for a third term as President of the ÖOC boosting continued support for the bid.

ÖOC General Secretary Peter Mennel said “the feasibility study will be finished by the end of May, and then serious discussions will take place.  But, in principle, the time for an application has not been as favorable as it is now for 2026 – the chances are definitely here.”

If Innsbruck decides to bid, it could face international competition from Calgary, Sion, Sapporo, Almaty, Stockholm and others.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to elect a winner in 2019.

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