On Eve Of Bid Book Deadline Swedish Governors Pledge Support To Stockholm 2026 Olympic Bid

Three Governors representing Swedish counties where proposed venues for the Stockholm 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid are located have pledged their support to the project.  A letter expressing their backing of the Games will be included with bid book documents that are due to be delivered to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland Friday (January 11).

Stockholm is bidding to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Photo: Malcolm Hanes)

Stockholm is bidding to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Photo: Malcolm Hanes)

County Governor in Dalarna Ylva Thörn, County Governor in Stockholm Sven-Erik Österberg and County Governor in Jämtland Jöran Hägglund wrote jointly “we are happy to express our strong support for the bid of Winter Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden 2026,” recognizing that this would be the first time the quadrennial event would be held in Sweden.

“Being a strong winter sport nation, Sweden has a long tradition of participating in international championships with great success.

“Choosing Sweden for hosting the Winter Olympic and the Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 will sure be a winning concept for all of us,” the letter concluded.

This support offers a glimmer of hope for the Swedish bid that still seeks more important endorsements from both the city and the national governments.

A city coalition government was organized last year under the condition that no funds would be made available to the proposed bid.  Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) officials said the project would be privately funded and wouldn’t require a taxpayer contribution, but would still likely require city backing for the provision of essential services during the Games.

A Stockholm 2026 spokesperson told GamesBids.com that they don’t need support from the City of Stockholm, but would prefer that the municipality be involved with the project.

The Swedish Parliament is currently hung, unable to form a government after elections last year.  In its current state it is unable to endorse Stockholm 2026, a commitment that is required by the IOC in order to ensure security, immigration support and public safety protocols are in place during the Games.

Stockholm 2026 officials say they are confident a new government will be formed after a scheduled vote later this month, and it will be supportive of the bid.

Both guarantees are to be delivered in writing to the IOC Friday according to published rules, but IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi has already indicated that his organization will be flexible and accept the documents if delivered at a later date.

IOC Could Extend Guarantee Deadline For Stockholm 2026 Olympic Bid: Spokesperson

In November Dubi said at a press conference “In exceptional situations we can be exceptionally flexible, there is no reason to stop this entire project unless the warranty can be in place.”

His comments came shortly after citizens in Calgary voted against bidding for the Games, leaving the IOC with only two candidates.  Four other bids took early exits from the race including Switzerland’s Sion after losing a referendum, Sapporo in Japan after deciding to bid for the 2030 edition instead, Graz in Austria when political support softened and finally Erzurum when the Turkish city was dismissed by the IOC for being too costly.

Stockholm is now competing with a single rival, the joint Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo project from Italy.  The Italian government said it will not make any financial commitment to the bid but will provide “political” support.  Funding for the project is expected to come from the two provinces representing the host cities, Lombardy and Veneto.  Local media has reported that municipal guarantees from both Milan and Cortina will be available for submission Friday.

The guarantees, however, are expected to be in place ahead of Evaluation Commission visits led by IOC member Octavian Morariu scheduled from March 12 to 16 in Sweden and April 2 to 6 in Italy.

The winning city will be elected at the IOC’s all-members Session to be held in Lausanne starting June 24.

About Robert Livingstone

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.