Krakow Mayor Abandons 2022 Olympic Bid After Devastating Referendum

Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski canceled his city’s bid for the 2022 Olympic Games early Monday after results from Sunday’s referendum showed that nearly 70 per cent opposed hosting the Games.

Nearly 36 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots easily surpassing the 30 per cent required to validate the vote. Of those, 69.7 per cent resoundingly opposed the bid.

The Mayor, who called the referendum in March, placed blame firmly on the previous bid administration.  He told Polish media “when we launched our bid to host the Winter Olympics, we had a high level of public support.”

“Unfortunately, the former leaders of the Krakow Competition Committee 2022, headed by Civic Platform MP Jagna Marczulajtis-Walczak, squandered that trust, and we had too little time to rebuild it.”

Marczulajtis-Walczak resigned last month amid allegations that her husband had offered to pay journalists to write favorable articles about Krakow’s bid. She denied prior knowledge of the events and said she had been targeted by a “smear campaign.”

Majchrowski explained “Krakow has shown that it is truly democratic: the highest participation in the country for the European elections and a referendum for local high turnout.”

“This project was extremely important for the development of the entire region.”

Krakow has become the second city to drop from the race after submitting applications last November. In January, Stockholm pulled out of the running due to financial concerns. Munich and Davos, Switzerland were both prevented from submitting applications after losing separate referendums on the bid last year.

Four cities remain in weakening race.

Ukraine’s bid from Lviv remains on the brink of viability due to the nation’s recent conflict with Russia. Newly elected Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko will need to offer financial support to the project for it to remain in the competition.

A coalition partner in Norway’s parliament said it won’t agree to underwrite financial guarantees for Oslo’s bid, casting doubt on its feasibility. A decision on that won’t happen until November or December.

That leaves bids from Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan; both have been untouched by scandal or opposition and are likely to appear on the final ballot.

The IOC will draw up a short list of candidates at its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne July 7 and 8. A final vote for the host city will take place July 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.