The Republic of Austria Wednesday threw its support behind a proposed 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid from Innsbruck. If launched, the bid would seek a third Winter Games for the region after already hosting in 1964 and 1976.
“The Council of Ministers supported a possible application for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Tyrol and Innsbruck in 2026 and examined how and to what extent the Confederation could make an appropriate contribution to financing,” a statement by the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) explained.
“In addition,” the statement continued, “the Federal Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the stakeholders, creates a security concept to ensure the safe execution of the event.”
Tyrolean leader Günther Platter added “this federal support is a strong signal and a good basis for a possible application of the [bid].”
“In addition to the technical feasibility, the prerequisite for the application is, above all, the economic, ecological and social compatibility of a sustainable Winter Games.
Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer cautioned “however, the results of the feasibility study are crucial as a basis for a self-assured offer towards a compatible Games with real added value for the population.”
A feasibility study assessing a potential bid was completed last month and is to be released June 21 with reportedly positive results. A referendum on the projected is expected to be held in the fall.
“This will provide sound and transparent information and a discussion basis for a country-wide public consultation,” Oppitz-Plörer said.
ÖOC President Karl Stoss, who was re-elected for a third term in March said “the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recognized the signs of the times and launched the Olympic Agenda 2020, a reform package focusing on the cost reduction and reorganization of hosting contracts.”
He said that the bid leveraging Agenda 2020 and with the support of the Austrian government , “is a great opportunity for our country.”
In Wednesday’s statement, the ÖOC said a candidacy will be dependent on the IOC’s host city contract and reaching agreements among the ÖOC, Tyrol and the City of Innsbruck with the Republic of Austria, especially with respect to funding and financial guarantees required by the host city contract.
After hosting in 1964, Innsbruck replaced Denver as host of the 1976 Games when the U.S. city rejected financing of the project through a public vote. The Austrian city hosted the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012.
If Innsbruck decides to bid, it will face international competition from Sion with the Swiss city confirming its candidacy earlier this year. Additionally Calgary, Sapporo and Almaty in Kazakhstan are considering applications for the Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to elect a winner in 2019, however bid reforms to be discussed by the IOC Executive Board at a meeting in Lausanne Friday could change the way the bid process unfolds.