Reporting from Lausanne, Switzerland – Heading into the final sprint ahead of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) election of the host for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Stockholm Åre bid Chief Richard Brisius claims his team has checked all the boxes and is ready to defeat Italian rival Milan-Cortina.
On Monday, about 85 IOC members are expected to vote for either a bid centered in the Swedish Capital, or one spread across venues in Northern Italy, as part of the 134th IOC Session being held in Lausanne, Switzerland.
An IOC bid evaluation report released last month identified some missing signed guarantees, and according to an AFP report, the IOC last week sent a letter to Stockholm Åre officials seeking further clarification.
But Brisius told GamesBids.com Friday that all outstanding issues have since been resolved.
“We have come back and addressed all challenges they raised and answered them,” he said.
“Our bid files were handed in on January 11, which was the basis for almost all of the content in that. A lot has happened in our bid since.”
“The government of Sweden, they have provided all required guarantees, everything that you’d normally expect by the government.”
On Thursday, the IOC Executive Board agreed to forward both bids to the final ballot, indicating that the files are satisfactory.
Brisius defended recent IOC polling results that show public support in Sweden at 55 percent compared with 83 percent across Italy.
“Our public support is growing and that figure 55 percent that the IOC poll shows is a good indication,” he said
“But 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.
“We are at similar levels as Paris in France and the U.S. leading into the ’24 Games.”
On Thursday, however, an Ipsos poll published in Sweden found that 34 percent support the bid with 37 percent against and many undecided.
IOC Executive Board member and Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg refused to speculate what a loss by her bid to Italy would mean.
“Our goal is to end up first,” she said.
“It’s two good candidates. One of them will be the winner and we hope it’s us. We are going for the gold.”
A gathering is being planned at Swedish Olympic Committee headquarters in Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium for Monday’s announcement of the winner, a celebration that may seem low key compared to what is planned in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo should Italy instead prevail in the IOC vote.
“We might seem at bit understated in this bid campaign,” Brisius said.
“But we are walking the talk when it comes to the New Norm (IOC reforms to reduce the costs and risks of hosting the Games). But don’t misinterpret Swedish understatement that we are not passionate about this, we are hugely passionate.
“This is a learning journey that I think we see across the world now, what is the transformation of the Olympic Games for the future.
“Sweden will become the powerful heart of the Olympic Movement leading into 2026.”
SOK President Mats Årjes added “the Swedes will be more than proud and excited to deliver, and that’s something very important for us. ”
Both bids will provide technical presentations for the voting members Monday morning before making final presentations that will be streamed live around the world.
Lindberg, an IOC member since 1996, underlined the importance of the final presentation for a host city vote as close as this one is expected to be.
“I think the final presentation has a big impact on where you put your vote,” she said.
“Especially now with the new procedure because we have not been able to discuss with members because there has only been one opportunity where we could make a presentation, that was in Tokyo in November last year.
“Both the technical presentation and the final presentation will be very important.”
She added that the limited opportunities with IOC members as a means to cut bidding costs has been frustrating – but a necessary and important part of the reforms.
“It’s difficult to sell something when you cannot show what you have to sell.”
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.