Ukrainian PM Renews Desire For Joint Olympic Bid With Belarus

Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk has confirmed that work is underway to assess the feasibility of a future joint Olympic Games bid with Belarus.

Ukraine Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk with IOC Member Sergey Bubka (right) on February 11, 2020 (Photo: Oleksiy Honcharuk/Twitter)

Ukraine Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk with IOC Member Sergey Bubka (right) on February 11, 2020 (Photo: Oleksiy Honcharuk/Twitter)

According to the RBC Ukraine news agency Honcharuk was candid with comments about a possible Olympic bid during a meeting Tuesday to discuss Ukraine’s preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“The idea deserves an in-depth study,” the Prime Minister reportedly said.

“The government is looking into the situation from different points of view and will put forward a concept to our partners if the initiative can be implemented in the new future.

“This is an important and responsible image-building step. Such large-scale projects contribute to the renewal of the country’s infrastructure, strengthen its tourist appeal and national prestige worldwide.”

Last July Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky launched a long-term plan to build sport infrastructure with a view to hosting the Olympics in the future, and he asked the nation’s sports officials to investigate.

Belarus President Green Lights Possible Joint Olympic Bid With Ukraine

Zelensky said “we need a plan, let’s say, that we are ready to build in 3-4 years and then we can get in line to host the Olympics.”

In October Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko backed Ukraine’s plans for a joint bid, agreeing that his nation could not do it alone.  Belarus had considered plans to co-host a Games with Russia but recent sanctions by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over state-sponsored doping allegations prevents Russia from bidding for or hosting major sports events in the near future.

The two Eastern European nations have not named a target Games or indicated whether they would be interested in a Summer or Winter edition, but new International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules allow fledgling bids to enter into discussions to find mutual opportunities.

The bidding reforms launched by the IOC last year allow for joint bids to help promote sustainable and cost efficient Games.  In the past, such bids were frowned upon.

Ukraine Sets Focus On Future Olympic Games Bid

The next available Winter Games will take place in 2030, and Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Barcelona have been named as interested cities to date.  The 2032 Summer Games race is also heating up with a Queensland state bid from Australia already recognized as the heavy favorite against possible rivals from India, Indonesia, Germany, China, Spain and The Netherlands.

No bidding timetable has been set, and under new rules the IOC can choose candidate cities for election at any time.

Lviv launched Ukraine’s only ever Olympic bid, a campaign to host the 2022 Winter Games, but was later forced to withdraw amid political turmoil resulting from the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.

Belarus has never hosted the Olympics but the 2019 European Games were held in capital Minsk.

Last year Ukraine IOC member Sergey Bubka cautioned government officials from dreaming too big and he instead advised a more realistic goal of bidding for an edition of the Youth Olympic Games.

About Robert Livingstone

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.