Leaders of Stockholm’s 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid said plans for the Swedish Capital are progressing, and they regret the likely loss of Calgary from the race.
Stockholm 2026 Chief Richard Brisius said “I know our colleagues in Canada well.”
“We’re part of the same Olympic family and I know how hard they have worked, doing the best they can to reach out to the public with all of the information on how they would host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
On Tuesday Calgarians voted 56.4 percent against continuing Canada’s Olympic bid and City Council plans to suspend the campaign at a meeting set for Monday.
“It’s a shame for those who have worked so hard to make the dream of holding this Winter and Paralympic Games in Canada a reality,” Brisius added
“I hope that they will continue working to make this happen in the future.”
Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) Chair Mats Årjes also weighed in on the news.
“It’s sad if they can’t continue to be candidates – we had expected them to join us and Italy,” Årjes said.
“But there are still two other candidates and both are very experienced and good options if you look at the competitions and arrangements they have made before.”
Stockholm’s bid is also hanging by a thread. The SOK has developed an efficient plan that follows the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Agenda 2020 reforms by leveraging existing facilities, including a sliding track in Latvia.
Brisius has said that the bid could be privately funded without taxpayer expense.
But the bid has yet to receive any necessary government support that is due with the bid book on January 11. A new city coalition government recently formed on the condition that it reject the bid, and the Swedish Parliament is currently hung after indecisive elections held earlier in the year.
Though a taxpayer commitment may not be needed for the bid itself, relevant government entities still must sign off on the provision of security and essential services.
The SOK has hoped to meet with the city government to discuss the bid, but the window is beginning to shut.
Brisius maintains that positive progress is being made.
“We have had good interaction with all relevant parties, including business, civil society, politics and sports. We feel that we are building more understanding and people are realizing that this will be good for both Sweden and the Olympic Movement,” he said.
“Our concept is amazing and we have a unique opportunity with what we can create by bringing the Winter Olympics and Paralympics to Sweden. Our chances are still very good.”
A joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo remains as Stockholm’s only rival. The national government has said that it will not fund the two-city project, but news emerged Wednesday that its possible they would “lend a hand’ if necessary.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) says the bid could be privately funded, and the regions representing the two cities could cover some of the necessary infrastructure build.
CONI, however, would still require all the same guarantees expected of Stockholm.
The IOC will elect a host city next June in Lausanne.
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.