Reporting From Lausanne, Switzerland – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board has moved to recommend both Sweden’s 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid from Stockholm Åre and its rival Italy’s Milan-Cortina to Monday’s election ballot at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The two bids are the only remaining in the 2026 bid race that saw Calgary in Canada, Sapporo in Japan, Sion in Switzerland and Graz in Austria drop out of the running – and Erzurum in Turkey miss the IOC shortlist.
IOC President Thomas Bach made the announcement following the conclusion of the Executive Board meeting Thursday.
“This is a decision that we have to take according to the regulation and the Executive Board was pleased to see that both candidates are perfectly aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and both candidates have strong winter sport experience and both are strong winter sports countries,” Bach said.
Though a formality, the decision means that the Executive Board believes both bids have provided sufficient guarantees and could host the Games if elected. The final decision will now pass into the hands of the IOC members at the organization’s Session beginning Monday.
About 90 members are expected to be eligible to vote with a simple majority required to elect the 2026 host city.
When pressed by reporters, Bach refused to speculate which of the two bids he believes is being favored by the members, “I don’t even know how many have made up their minds,” he said.
On Monday morning the two bids will provide technical briefings for members and stakeholders before final presentations are made in the early afternoon. The final vote will take place late afternoon with an announcement of the winner expected at 6:00 pm local time.
High caliber dignitaries are expected to be part of the delegations Monday with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte supporting the Milan-Cortina bid and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven along with Crown Prince Victoria standing behind the Stockholm Åre candidacy. Several Olympic champions will also be on hand.
Robert Livingstone will be reporting from the 134th IOC Session and 2026 Host City Election being held in Lausanne, Switzerland Starting June 24. Follow him on Twitter @enotsgnivil to keep up-to-date.
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.