An international Olympic Committee (IOC) team of officials and experts have scheduled visits to the two remaining cities bidding to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.
The delegation, to be led by Evaluation Commission Chair Octavian Morariu, will visit Swedish capital Stockholm from March 12 to 16 before inspecting the rival Italian bid jointly by Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo from April 2 to 6.
The visits will help the bid evaluation team view the proposed venues and meet with bid committee members and government officials to review the proposed plans and submitted guarantees. The findings will be published in an evaluation report scheduled for release just days ahead of the final election to be held late June.
Both cities continue to struggle to remain in the race as they try to secure elusive government guarantees required by the IOC. The proposed Italian Games is planned to be underwritten by the two regions representing the cities involved after the national government refused to commit any public funds. The Italian government will still need to ensure security and other essential services will be provided to the project, and city governments will need to do the same.
In Stockholm, the city coalition government has ruled against supporting an Olympic bid and a hung Parliament means there is no government to provide guarantees at the national level. A Stockholm 2026 spokesperson told GamesBids.com that there will be further votes in parliament to try to form a new national government in January, but a Games guarantee before the deadline is not likely.
The spokesperson said Stockholm’s bid will be privately funded and would not need the city to back plans, but admitted that his team hopes the city will join the project.
Government guarantees are due into the IOC, along with the full candidature files, on January 11.
Both projects expect to submit their bid books in time for the January cut-off date and last month IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi said that the deadline for the guarantees could be extended rather than eliminating any of the cities from the race. Already five of the seven original applicants have left the competition.
When asked by GamesBids.com on Saturday, an IOC spokesperson confirmed that necessary documents would be accepted from the bids after the deadline, explaining “all documents submitted by the Candidate Cities will form part of an analysis from the Evaluation Commission and the results will be published in its final report.”
That should allow the two bids at least five more months to secure the necessary guarantees.
For the 2022 Games four of six bids exited the race early leaving Beijing to defeat only Almaty in Kazakhstan for the hosting prize.
For 2026, Calgary in Canada and Sion in Switzerland lost referendums over their bids while Sapporo in Japan withdrew to focus on a 2030 bid and Graz in Austria abandoned plans when it lost government support after a referendum was scheduled. Erzurum in Turkey was dismissed by the IOC after it was deemed too costly.
MEMBERS OF THE 2026 OLYMPIC BID EVALUATION COMMISSION (SOURCE: IOC)
Octavian MORARIU (ROU)
IOC Member; President, Rugby Europe; Member of the Coordination Commission for the XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022
Kristin KLOSTER AASEN (NOR)
1st Vice-President, Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports; Member of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission
Hong ZHANG (CHN)
IOC Athletes’ Commission representative; Olympic champion, Sochi 2014, Speed Skating; Olympian, PyeongChang 2018, Speed Skating; Executive Board member of the Chinese Olympic Committee
Roman KUMPOST (CZE)
Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) representative; Vice-President, Czech Olympic Committee
Heike GROESSWANG (GER)
Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) representative; Secretary General, International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF)
Marianna DAVIS (USA)
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) representative Governing Board member, IPC
LEE Hee-beom (KOR)
President, Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018
José Luis MARCO (ARG)
Member of the Coordination Commission for the XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and XXI Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010; Member of the Evaluation Commissions for the Olympic Games 2012 and the Olympic Winter Games 2002, 2010 and 2014