Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén Friday met an International Olympic Committee (IOC) deadline requiring government Olympic bid guarantees, by sending a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach.
Löfvénès letter officially confirms his nation’s support of the proposed Stockholm Åre 2026 Winter Olympics that had been announced by culture minister Amanda Lind Tuesday. Along with a financial commitment to provide security, visa support, health and human rights protections and other essential services, more than 200 required warranties were also confirmed for elements such as venues, accommodations and logistics.
After both Sweden and its rival bid from Italy missed the original January 11 deadline to provide government commitments, the IOC named April 12 as a new deadline. Last Friday Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed the same commitments and delivered the letter to the Chair of the visiting IOC Evaluation Commission Octavian Morariu.
According to a statement released by the Stockholm Åre bid, the letter guarantees that Sweden will work with a future organizing committee and the IOC and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to deliver a Games that is “successful, inclusive, sustainable, safe and respects the Olympic Charter.”
The Prime Minister believes that Sweden will be and ‘outstanding‘, ‘vibrant’ and ‘forward-thinking’ host.
Stockholm Åre 2026 CEO Richard Brisius Tuesday said the government’s firm commitments represented an important milestone for the bid.
On Friday he added “We continue the positive work with our bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to help create something new and something lasting, for the Olympic Movement.”
“I am confident that we have a bid that is tailor made to the new reality of the IOC and that will bring the Winter Games to Sweden, a dependable, capable nation that loves winter sports,” he continued.
Sweden, a strong winter sport nation, has never hosted a Winter Olympics but staged the Summer Games in Stockholm in 1912. Italy last hosted the Winter Games in Turin in 2006 and Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956. The Summer Games were hosted in Rome in 1960.
The IOC had made it clear that it was looking to site the 2026 edition of the Games in Europe after three straight events in Asia, but there is belief that the organization is leaning towards a Scandinavian Games, a first since Lillehammer in 1994.
With both bids locking in guarantees late, but within the same week, the race promises to be fierce ahead of the June 24 election by IOC members in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The IOC Evaluation Commission will release its report, gleaned from visits to venues in Italy this month and to Sweden in March, on May 24.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.