Belarus President Green Lights Possible Joint Olympic Bid With Ukraine

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has backed a possible bid between his nation and Ukraine to host a future Olympic Games.

Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko speaks at the opening of The Match athletics meet in Minsk, September 9, 2019 (State Photo)

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko speaks at the opening of The Match athletics meet in Minsk, September 9, 2019 (State Photo)

At the Second Forum of Regions of Belarus and Ukraine held in Zhytomyr Friday, Lukashenko endorsed the proposed joint bid after admitting last month that it would be difficult for his country to move forward alone.

“I think that our states could bid to co-host big international sport competitions, Lukashenko said, according to BelTA.

“I am talking about the Ukrainian president’s proposal to bid to co-host the Olympic Games.

“Together we can do it.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July called upon his sports officials to investigate a future Summer Games bid.  In 2014, a bid by Lviv in Ukraine to host the 2022 Winter Games was abandoned due to the Russian incursion in Crimea.

A joint bid between nations became possible in June after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved new reforms that dropped the requirement of a single-city bid, instead adding emphasis on the use of existing facilities.

Belarus has also considered teaming up with Russia to mount a bid, but ongoing anti-doping issues with the Russian Federation could present a significant roadblock.

Lukashenko pointed to close cultural relations between the two nations that could help elevate a joint bid along with the success of Ukraine’s team at the European Games held this year in the Belarus Capital of Minsk. Ukraine placed third in the 2nd edition of those Games.

Reviews of the Minsk 2019 Games were mixed, but the legacy can be leveraged for an Olympics with the construction of some new facilities.  The Capital also hosted an international athletics meet in September.

Minsk 2019 European Games Opening Ceremony (Minsk 2019 Photo)

Minsk 2019 European Games Opening Ceremony (Minsk 2019 Photo)

“These are blood and spiritual ties, the ties of our Slavonic unity,” Lukashenko told BelTA of the link between the two nations.

“We cherish our relations and value the friendship between our nations.”

On Thursday the IOC named Kristin Kloster Aasen of Norway to chair the new Future Summer Games Commission, a body responsible for investigating possible Olympic bid candidates and engaging them in an ongoing dialogue for a future Games fit.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the work of the Commission will begin at a later date and no Games will be sited until after 2020.  With Paris hosting the 2024 Games and Los Angeles organizing for 2028, the next available Summer Games are in 2032.

A bid by the state of Queensland in Australia has been most active, with delegates visiting IOC headquarters and Bach last month.  Other interest has come from India, Indonesia, China, Russia, Germany and jointly between North and South Korea.

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