Stockholm 2026 has released a list of athlete ambassadors who have pledged support for Sweden’s Olympic and Paralympic Games bid.
The list of celebrated athletes includes 21 Swedish Olympians who have won a combined total of 60 medals, including 26 gold. Sweden is the nation with the most Winter Olympic gold medals never to have hosted a Winter Games. The capital hosted a Summer Games in 1912.
Headlining the list is Charlotte Kalla, the Swedish cross-country skier who has won nine medals in her career, including three golds (full list of ambassadors follows below).
“When I heard Sweden would be applying to host in 2026, it really excited me,” she said.
“The Winter Games is very big, and you really feel that during the Games the Swedish Olympic Committee has been supporting you for years before.
“The support you get is really something I haven’t encountered anywhere else in my career.”
Kalla emphasized the long-term benefits that hosting a Games could bring to the Sweden.
She said “role models are important, and what really excited me was the thought of people being able to participate even more in sports,.”
“I also think that the Swedish Olympic Committee’s view on sustainability is spot on – we already have most of the venues, so we don’t need to build a lot of new arenas to host the Games.”
The Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) is pushing forward with a bid, even after a new city coalition government was formed last month with an agreement that no public funds would be spent on an Olympics. At the national level, the Swedish Parliament is hung and also unable to extend support for a bid.
Stockholm 2026 has proposed an Olympics that won’t rely on public funds – except for essential services such as security. The project utilizes mostly existing venues in the capital and would also include facilities in Åre, Falun, and a sliding track in the Latvian city of Sigulda.
The SOK is reportedly set to meet with city officials this week to try to strike a deal.
The IOC set a January 11 deadline for bid books and government guarantees but last week Executive Director Christophe Dubi suggested that date could be extended.
“In exceptional situations we can be exceptionally flexible, there is no reason to stop this entire project unless the warranty can be in place,” he said.
“This is a project we really love.”
Of the seven original applicants, only a bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy and Stockholm remain in the race. On Monday, Calgary in Canada dropped out of the race after more than 56 percent in the city voted against the project.
Milan-Cortina also still seeks government assurances, and will receive no funding from the national level.
Ambassador Johan Olsson, a cross-country skier who competed in three Olympics between 2006 and 2014 winning six medals including two golds, said “I clearly stand behind at Olympic Games in Sweden, and if you look at the importance of a Winter Olympics, that’s the big reason why I chose to be an ambassador.”
“I think sport has an ability that very few other things have to be a community builder.
“It forges community, creates role models and an Olympic Games in Sweden, I think would place a spotlight on sport, which means better conditions for young people.”
Bid organizers said they will be adding more ambassadors to the team soon.
The IOC plans to elect a host city for 2026 at the end of June in Lausanne, Switzerland.
First List of Stockholm 2026 Ambassadors (Source: Stockholm 2026)
Therese Alshammar, Swimming – 1 silver, 2 bronze
Niklas Edin, Curling – 1 silver, 1 bronze
Magdalena Forsberg, Biathlon – 2 bronze
Tomas Gustafson, Skating – 3 gold, 1 silver
Frida Hansdotter, Alpine Skiing – 1 gold
Marcus Hellner, Cross-country Skiing – 3 gold, 1 silver
Stefan Holm, High Jump – 1 gold
Anette Wilhelm – Wheelchair Curling, 2 bronze
Anna Holmlund, Ski Cross – 1 bronze
Charlotte Kalla, Cross-country Skiing – 3 gold, 6 silver
Carolina Klüft, Athletics – 1 gold
Björn Lind, Cross-country Skiing – 2 gold
Eva Lund, Curling – 2 gold
Kim Martin Hasson, Ice Hockey – 1 silver, 1 bronze
Anette Norberg, Curling – 2 gold
Sandra Näslund, Ski Cross – 1 gold
Johan Olsson, Cross-country Skiing – 2 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze
Markus Oscarsson, Canoe – 1 gold, 1 silver
Anja Pärson, Alpine Skiing – 1 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze
Maja Reichard, Para Swimming – 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze
Sebastian Samuelsson, Skiathlon – 1 gold, 1 silver
Anders Södergren, Cross-country Skiing – 1 gold, 1 bronze
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.