Bids from Milan-Cortina in Italy and Stockholm-Åre in Sweden submitted electronic versions of their 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid books to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Friday, meeting the important scheduled milestone in an unusually low-key way.
The recently re-branded Stockholm-Åre 2026 bid, renamed to recognize the role Åre will play in the regional concept as proposed hosts to the Alpine events, noted in a press release “In earlier years, the submission of the bid book meant that a delegation of three to five people traveled to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne for handover and presentation on site.”
“But now no one travels from the candidate city to Switzerland. As part of the sustainability work, the application is emailed in accordance with Agenda 2020.”
The bid books contain just over 100 pages of answers to 132 questions, down significantly from the previous three-volume, 600-plus page document previously required by the IOC – and the result of cost cutting reforms recently implemented by the organization.
To mark the milestone, the Milan-Cortina 2026 bid launched a new dedicated website containing links to the full bid book in English and French.
The files will now be examined by an IOC Evaluation Commission led by member Octavian Morariu, with results to be published in an evaluation report along with findings from site visits to Stockholm-Are from 12 to 16 March and Milan-Cortina from 2 to 6.
The report will be made available to the IOC membership and the public ahead of the final vote to be held at an all-members Session in Lausanne, Switzerland at the end of June.
Friday’s applications mark the first time that the IOC has permitted bids that are jointly named, a format forbidden in the Olympic Charter that specifies only a single city name can be applied to a Games franchise. It is unclear if the IOC will force the winning bid to rebrand itself with a single city name.
The IOC seems to be embracing, if not endorsing the new joint-naming convention in support of its new sustainability reforms. In a statement, the IOC wrote “the names of the candidatures reflect the projects and their maximum use of existing, traditional winter sports venues.”
On Thursday, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) revealed that it had secured critical government and municipal support for the bid as part of the guarantee package required by the IOC along with completed bid books. The national government and local authorities will bear the cost of security and other essential services, according to the bid book.
Sweden’s bid has yet to win government support as its Parliament is currently hung after close elections last year. A recently formed coalition city government in Stockholm has said it will not provide funding or guarantees for a bid.
However on Thursday three governors representing regions where proposed venues for the Games are located expressed their support for the project.
The IOC has agreed to extend Friday’s deadline for guarantees “for a few weeks” allowing time for Stockholm-Åre to collect the required signatures of support.
Stockholm-Åre 2026 bid chief Richard Brisius told GamesBids.com Friday that he believes his bid currently meets all requirements.
“We think that we have everything in place that is required from us at this stage, so we are on track,” he said by telephone from Stockholm.
Since the Games are to be privately funded, Brisius says city support is not technically required, but he believes a majority of the city council are behind the joint-city plans. He added that his bid has already received assurances from Sweden’s police force that will provide security for the Games.
“We hope the government will support us later on,” he added, indicating that further guarantees regarding venues that may need city concurrence are due on April 12.
Brisius was also unfazed with an IOC poll that revealed only 49 percent in Stockholm support a bid for the Games.
He said “It should not be a concern, we see a growing trend of support.”
“Swedes love the Winter Olympics in particular.”
Brisius added that a referendum is not required in Sweden, negating the possibility that the public could vote to kill the bid as taxpayers did last year in Sion, Switzerland and Calgary, Canada.
Morariu said Friday “I am delighted that these two great projects already demonstrate a clear vision about the lasting legacies to be delivered in their respective communities, which have successfully hosted many winter sports events in the past.”
“We are now looking forward to reviewing the Candidature Files and continuing to work in partnership with the cities to further develop and refine their plans.”
A Winter Games in 2026 would represent Italy’s third time hosting the event after Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956 and Turin in 2006. For Sweden, it would be a first Winter Games. Stockholm hosted the 1912 Summer Games.
The IOC announced that both bids have planned operating budgets that are about 20 percent less than the two previous bid cycles. Projected capital costs will be lower as well with 80 percent of the required venues either already built or temporary facilities, up from 60 percent in previous bids.
Milan-Cortina has estimated an operating budget of approximately USD $1.55 billion (2018) to stage the Games.