A joint 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid from Austria is set to move forward after City Councillors in Graz voted Thursday to approve the filing of a letter of interest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Serious plans for a joint bid between Graz and Schladming emerged only in January but organizers will now meet a March 31 deadline to participate in the dialogue process of the bid ahead of the formal kickoff of invited candidates in October.
Schladming City Council already voted their approval last month.
According to Diepress.com, the vote also approves the formation of a BidCo “Graz Winter Games 2026” to manage the project, and the first deliverable is a feasibility study by June. Organizers have estimated Federal funding for the Games will amount to 416 million euros (USD $512 million), exclusive of security costs.
Last year another Austrian bid from Innsbruck was proposed before it was defeated when 53.35 percent voted against the project in a general referendum. Politicians behind the new joint bid say no referendum will be required, but a final decision has yet to be made.
Graz will likely be the site of ice events while ski competitions would be staged in Schladming. Sliding events, including Bosblseigh, Skeleton and Luge could be staged at Schönau am Königssee and the Speed Skating at Inzell, both in Germany.
Along with Graz-Schladming – Calgary, Sion, Sapporo and Stockholm have entered the race. Lillehammer along with Milan or Turin could are currently considering bids.
Guarantees are due into the IOC in January 2019 and a winner will be elected September 2019.
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.