Stockholm 2026 Winter Olympic Bid On Brink Of Collapse Due To Political Shuffle

Stockholm’s bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games seems certain to collapse after agreements struck in City Council over budgeting will exclude funds for a potential Games.

Stockholm investigating possible 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid (Wikipedia Photo)
Stockholm’s possible 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid likely to be abandoned (Wikipedia Photo)

The newly formed coalition between the Alliance Party and the Party of Environment that now form a majority in City Council have balked at the idea of a 2026 Olympic bid, leaving the Social Democrats the only supporters of the project.

At a press conference on Friday, the coalition announced its intention to pass on the bid.

They blamed, in part, lack of public interest in an Olympic bid that was displayed in a poll released by the IOC Tuesday showing only 49 percent in Stockholm support the bid.

High-level coalition member Karin Ernlund told reporters “the starting point for all our parties has been to ensure that a Winter Olympics should not be on the taxpayers to pay for it.”

A statement released by the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) ahead of the coalition press conference Friday defended the results of the poll that showed only 25 percent opposing the bid.

“Almost twice as many are positive for the Olympics in Sweden compared to those who are negative,” said Mats Årjes, chairman of the SOK.

An IOC spokesperson told Friday “we have seen the latest media reports but have not yet had any official confirmation of the decision so we cannot comment further at this stage.”

The SOK have been reached for comment but have yet to respond on the recent developments that could end Sweden’s Olympic dreams for the second consecutive bid cycle.  Stockholm exited the 2022 race for similar reasons.

In April 2017 then Mayor Karin Wanngard had said she wouldn’t support the 2026 bid due to lack of information, and lack of interest in other stakeholder governments.

Ultimately it will be up to the SOK to cancel the 2026 plans, though there seems no other option with government guarantees due into the IOC on January 11.

The IOC on Tuesday confirmed that Stockholm, along with Calgary in Canada and an Italian joint bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo could join the race as candidates, leaving a Turkish entry from Erzurum behind due to the high costs for that project.

IOC President Thomas Bach said after the the short list announcement that with only three cities, the would be “no plan ‘b'” should the other bids fail.

Calgary is about to face a potentially decisive plebiscite on November 13 and Italy still requires support and guarantees from various stakeholders by a January 11 bid book deadline set by the IOC.

The IOC will elect a winning city from any remaining candidates at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland at the end of June, 2019.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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