Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said his nation is ready to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026, and it will be a boost for business and culture in Sweden.
As delegations for Sweden’s Stockholm Åre bid and Italy’s Milan Cortina candidate prepare to head to Lausanne, Switzerland for the final host city election next Monday, Löfven underlined his support for the bid.
“Sweden last hosted the Olympic Games in 1912 and now it is time again,” Löfven said.
“We are a strong winter sports nation.
“We are very good at arranging big championships and we have shown it last winter with two major championships.
“Sweden wants the Olympics and Paralympics and we will deliver a sustainable Games – economically sustainable, socially sustainable and environmentally sustainable.”
National government support for Sweden’s bid was slow to materialize after close elections last year left the country with a hung Parliament. It took months for the formation of a new government and the Stockholm Åre bid missed an International Olympic Committee (IOC) deadline to provide required guarantees. Löfven’s government met an extended deadline in April weeks after an IOC inspection team left Stockholm.
“We are convinced that an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden will be fantastic, and something for the whole country to look forward to,” Löfven added.
“It will bring Sweden together and we will benefit in many different areas, such as jobs, business, integration and public health. Everything is connected and it is important that we see the bigger picture. It is good for Sweden and we are good at deliver major events.”
The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce released an open letter endorsing the bid, signed by 17 government and business leaders including Löfven.
“With all the right tools to deliver the most sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games ever, Sweden is ready to set a new gold standard for future Olympic Games,” the letter stated.
Also signing the letter was Stockholm Mayor Anna König Jerlmyr, who represents a coalition city government formed on the condition that it would not support an Olympic Games. The Mayor has offered her city services for the event but will not provide taxpayer funding. She has agreed to lease venues to a possible organizing committee.
Other high-level signatories of the letter who proclaimed the Games would be “a catalyst for the shift towards a sustainable economy” include international music streaming service Spotify’s founder and CEO of Daniel Ek, H&M President and CEO Karl-Johan Persson and Ericsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has shared the Prime Ministers vision for the Games, she said “welcome to Sweden. You can trust us and trust that we will do our best to make it a memorable Games.”
“For us, it is important to win the vote. After all, we succeeded in entering the UN Security Council against all odds.
“If we can do that, on the basis of everything we stand for – equality, openness and diversity – then we can do it in this contest, too.”
Löfven added “I think national pride in Sweden would increase if we had a chance to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It would give us a project to look forward to throughout the country – and the eyes of the whole world will be directed towards Sweden.
Sweden’s business sector has also rallied behind the bid and the opportunities it represents.
Marcus Wallenberg, the Deputy Chair of Sweden’s largest industrial holding company Investor AB – and the major shareholder in global companies such as Ericsson, ABB, and Permobil said “it’s important for companies to underline how committed they are to sport.”
“The positive work by the IOC with their reform programmes, Olympic Agenda 2020 and The New Norm, highlight the concept of sustainability and inclusion, and this fits very well with modern business today.
“So, for us, from a business point of view, to be able to push for Stockholm Åre 2026’s new sustainability and innovation vision is something we’re really engaged in,” he said.
Sweden’s Games would use mostly existing or planned venues across four clusters centered around Stockholm where a majority of the events will take place. Nordic events would be contested in Falun, Alpine events in the northern ski resort Åre, and sliding competitions including bobsleigh, luge and skeleton would be staged in Sigulda, Latvia.
A team of Swedish athlete ambassadors are heading to Lausanne this week ahead of the host city election, but the bid has yet to confirm who will be part of the leadership delegation that often includes mayors and heads of state.
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.