Reporting from Lausanne, Switzerland – Organizers of the Stockholm Åre 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid received critical good news just two days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to choose between Sweden’s bid and a joint Milan-Cortina candidate from Italy to host the Games in 2026.
According to a new survey released Saturday, 63 percent in Sweden support an Olympic Games when those respondents were informed that the IOC has implemented Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms with “sustainability safeguards embedded in the Games plan.”
Of 1,001 respondents to a poll conducted online by respected Swedish pollster Kentar, only 11 percent opposed plans and 26 percent were undecided. The survey was taken June 13-17, just a week ahead of Monday’s important election in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The respondents were told that “the Games will be self-financed from private sector revenues; the Games will use existing facilities and no new facilities will be built solely for the event; the Games will use existing facilities and no new facilities will be built solely for the event; and the Games will be ‘climate smart’ with minimal environmental impact and minimal carbon emissions,” according to a statement from the bid.
The poll also revealed stronger support among young people with 74 percent in favour of a Games among 18-29 year-olds and 70 percent among 30-34 year-olds.
Bid CEO Richard Brisius who is in Lausanne to prepare for final presentations Monday said “Only 11% said that they are not in favour of the Games – and that shows the more Swedes know about the New Norm reforms, the more their passion for winter sports and Sweden’s first ever Winter Games will shine through.”
A March 2019 poll commissioned by the IOC revealed 55 percent support for the bid, and an Ipsos poll released Thursday indicated that 34 percent support the bid with 37 percent against and many undecided.
Brisius hinted that more favorable results would come when he met with the media Friday, he said “Since more and more people are starting to cross the knowledge gap, they understand what is the new way of organizing the Games, and then the numbers are raising.”
The IOC has dramatically changed the way Olympic Games will be organized in the future, and how hosts will be elected, but the population familiar with recent past events have rejected bids fearing cost over runs seen in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games and Rio for the 2016 Summer Games. It seems however that once informed of the new reforms, the public is more accepting.
Both Calgary in Canada and Sion in Switzerland were forced to drop their 2026 Olympic bids after losing referendums with simple questions that did not reference changes made by the IOC.
In a statement, Stockholm Åre 2026 compared the current results with Paris and Los Angeles during the 2024 Candidature Process, where the IOC found 63 percent support in France and 64 percent in the United States.
In Italy, 83 percent support the Milan-Cortina Olympic bid, according to an IOC poll.
On Monday, as many as 85 IOC members will vote for a winning bid in a single closed-ballot vote at the Swiss Tech Convention Center. Many members who have arrived in Lausanne ahead of the 134th IOC Session believe it will be a close vote.
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.