Reporting from Stockholm, Sweden – Stockholm Mayor Anna König Jerlmyr addressed members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission Friday morning, playing up what her city has to offer winter sports athletes and the Olympics, but stopping short of asking to be awarded the Stockholm-Åre 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The Mayor’s reluctance to provide full backing shouldn’t come as a surprise to the visiting IOC Evaluation Commission, who have spent three days exploring proposed venues in Åre, Falun and Stockholm. Last year a new city government coalition was formed with a specific mandate to reject a possible Olympic bid to avoid any taxpayer spend on the project.
The Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) later outlined a privately funded Olympic project that requires no cash from city hall, further suggesting that it wouldn’t need a city guarantee to move forward.
Jerlmyr instead told IOC inspectors Friday “we will be happy to provide and lease our facilities to [the Olympics].”
Evaluation Commission Chair Octavian Morariu and his team are assessing Stockholm-Åre under the umbrella of Olympic Agenda 2020, a set of reforms that include requirements underlining efficiency and sustainability in the bid process.
In the past, anything short of full enthusiastic support from the Mayor of the bid city would have been highly questionable.
The bid committee believes it can leverage a USD $925 million IOC host city contribution along with Games revenues and additional private funding to finance the 2026 Olympics. The four cluster concept uses many existing venues, with new speed skating, curling and biathlon facilities already planned.
The USD $1.517 billion budget (in 2018 costs) is expected to leave a small $37 million surplus.
“I love winter sport,” the Mayor said, “I believe Sweden is a good place.”
She described why the Olympics would be welcomed in Stockholm.
“Development and success go hand in hand with sustainability and opportunity,” she said.
“I believe sports is a way to include people in a society and a nation.
“We want to be high growth, a city that delivers an increasing quality of life.
“We have been a magnet of growth, one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.”
The national government is expected to determine whether it will support the bid in “the next weeks” and before an April 12 IOC deadline, according to comments made by Sweden Culture and Sport Minister Amanda Lind.
Unlike with the city’s lack of support, if the Swedish government denies support – which will include guarantees for security, visa requirements and other essential services – the bid will be forced to dissolve making it the seventh unsuccessful bid for Sweden.
Sweden has never hosted the Winter Games.
The IOC inspection visit to the Capital will conclude with a press conference Saturday, and the team will visit the rival Italian Milan-Cortina bid from April 2 to 6. The Commission will report to the full IOC membership at the end of May before a winning city in announced on June 24.
GamesBids.com will be reporting from Sweden this week, bringing you on-site coverage of the important Evaluation Commission visit. Follow us on Twitter @GamesBids or on Facebook to keep up with this event.