Montreux has offered to be the lead city in one of the four projects being vetted by the Swiss Olympic Committee as it investigates bidding to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.
The Swiss cantons of Valais and Vaud have joined up on a project referred to as “The Swiss Made Winter Games 2026”.
Montreux along with Lausanne in Vaud, and Sion in Valais are interested in wearing that Swiss bid’s banner but to date only Montreux has officially stepped forward. Organizers will select the host city to propose to Swiss Olympic before December 15, the deadline to submit documents that could move the campaign to the next phase.
On Thursday Bernard Rüeger, chief of Vaud’s side of the bid said Montreux “is endowed with a strong hotel offering, particularly within the luxury sector.”
“It has the technological infrastructure and is well known by tourists, especially the British.”
Mayor Laurent Wehrli said “Montreux has a real past as a winter sports town.”
Lausanne, the home of the IOC headquarters, is also currently organizing the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games and that may be perceived as a “negative” in its plans according to Swiss Olympic President Jörg Schild.
Sion, an unsuccessful bidder for the 1976, 2002 and 2006 Games, is seen as a more likely host city set near the mountains.
In the nation’s last Winter Games bid Montreux teamed up with Swiss Capital Bern in an unsuccessful attempt to host in 2010 – though IOC rules prohibited the use of the originally proposed Bern-Montreux banner. Bern is also in this 2026 race.
Swiss Olympic is expecting bid files from the projects “2026 – Games for our future” (multi-regions), “Olympische Winterspiele 2026 Graubünden und Partner” (Eastern Switzerland), “Switzerland 2026” (multi-regions), and the Valais-Vaud group – and may whittle down the list of contenders to two or three by the end of this year.
The remaining bids will have organizers attend January workshops before Swiss Olympic examines evaluation reports and selects the most viable project in March. If the feasibility report is satisfactory, Swiss Olympic may nominate that city to move forward. Additionally, the selected city may also need to win a general referendum if the law requires it.
Upon the Swiss Olympic General Assembly ratification of the choice during an April meeting, an application will be submitted to the IOC before the expected late 2017 or early 2018 deadline.
International bids for the 2026 Games are being considered by Innsbruck, Stockholm, Calgary and 2022 bid runner-up Almaty, Kazakhstan. Other possible bidders may come from Germany and Italy. The IOC is expected to elect a winner in 2019.