Erzurum 2026 Boasts “Wealth of Experience” Behind Turkey’s First Winter Games Bid

On Tuesday Erzurum was officially declared the first-ever Olympic Winter Games bid from Turkey by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and it will enter a dialogue stage with bids from six other countries.

Erzurum points to experience as a key strength of Turkey's first Winter Games bid (Turkish Olympic Committee Image)

Erzurum points to experience as a key strength of Turkey’s first Winter Games bid (Turkish Olympic Committee Image)

The Turkish Olympic Committee claims recent experience will boost its chances.

“Erzurum has a wealth of experience in hosting major international sporting events, having recently hosted the 2011 Winter Universiade, 2017 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), the 2012 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series 2014/15, two FIS Continental Cups and a FIS SBX World Cup,” a statement said.

The IOC is expected to send teams of technical experts to Erzurum to help the city develop its bid ahead of a possible invitation by the Executive Board to join the candidate stage in October.

The bid hopes to leverage new IOC reforms including Olympic Agenda 2020 and the “New Norm” as it prepares a possible candidature to compete against several well-developed winter sports regions.  The IOC announced that Calgary in Canada, Graz in Austria, Sapporo in Japan, Sion in Switzerland, Sweden’s Capital Stockholm and a yet-to-be-named city from Italy are also in the race.

Bid organizers will need to prove to the IOC that Erzurum is capable of organizing the Games without major risks.

Turkey has never hosted any Olympic Games, but the Turkish Olympic Committee has experience bidding for the Summer Games with five campaigns from Istanbul in the past two decades.

Erzurum also has strong support from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who in February visited the Erzurum region and vowed to secure a Games for the city.

“We will do our best to bring the Olympics to Erzurum,” the President then said.

The IOC will elect a host city September 2019.

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