The Stockholm and Åre bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has renewed hope now that Sweden’s Parliament has organized and a Sport Minister appointed to discuss and potentially provide backing for the project.
Last week Sweden’s parliament voted to give Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven a second term in office, a move that ended a four-month standoff leaving the nation without a government following an indecisive election. Lofven arrived at a deal with the Centre, Liberal and Green parties that left the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats from having a position in the government.
It had been previously feared that the hung parliament could only be resolved with support from the Social Democrats, a party with white-supremacist connections.
But the new government is not necessarily good news for Sweden’s Olympic bid. The complex coalition that has promised to cut taxes may face challenges reaching a consensus over support for a Games in 2026.
Amanda Lind has been appointed the new culture and sports minister, and she remains open but cautious about Olympic prospects.
Lind told local media that she is interested in an Olympic bid and believes that the sustainable concept proposed by Stockholm-Åre 2026 is compelling. She will meet with the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) to discuss the issue further.
But a government consensus needs to follow and “we will need a solid basis of decision before we land in a position,” Lind said.
Stockholm-Åre 2026 chief Richard Brisius told SVT “now we have a new government, it is stable.”
“But there is no panic with the government’s so-called security guarantee for winter Olympics 2026.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires governments to sign on to financially guarantee the delivery of essential services including security at the Games. A deadline to provide government commitments passed on January 11 but the IOC granted both Stockholm-Åre and Italian bid rivals Milan-Cortina an extension until guarantees can be collected.
Sweden’s bid is still seeking municipal government support, but bid officials say it may not be necessary since the project will be privately funded. Stockholm-Åre officials have told GamesBids.com that they still hope the city will embrace the Games, and provide support.
The IOC now expects government support to be in place ahead of Evaluation Commission visits set for Sweden from March 12-16 and Italy April 2-6.
But Brisius claims there is no hurry to meet with the sport minister, telling SVP that there is no time limit for the support to be in place.
“The goal for us is the end of June, when the actual Olympic vote takes place. Then everything should be clear,” he said.
The Milan-Cortina bid claims it has support from the regional and national governments, but the details are not yet clear.