A package of Olympic Games reforms approved in 2014 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been described as the main reason why Switzerland has jumped back into the race to host the Winter Games in 2026.
“People ask us why we are already coming back with a new Olympic ambition,” Swiss Olympic President Jörg Schild said Wednesday when he hosted a briefing for interested Swiss cities in Lausanne.
A proposed Swiss bid by Davos and St. Moritz for the 2022 Games was rejected by a public referendum three years ago amid an overall European backlash against the IOC that led to four other cities later dropping out of the race.
“The reason is the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020. The IOC adopted these reforms which will have a hugely positive impact on a host of sports-related aspects. In our case, this is the very reason why are going for the Olympic dream again: we feel that a small country like ours now has a chance and that hosting the Games in Switzerland would make a lot of sense.”
The Davos – St. Moritz group was in attendance Wednesday along with Sion – a city that was defeated in bids for the 2002 and 1976 Games, Bern – forced to withdraw from a 2010 bid after losing a referendum, and the Lake Geneva Region.
St. Moritz hosted Switzerland’s last Games in 1948. Lausanne is organizing the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2020.
A Swiss Olympic spokesperson said about 30 representatives were in attendance at the meeting and if interested, groups will need to sign up to the national bidding process by May 31.
“People ask us why we are already coming back with a new Olympic ambition. The reason is the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020.” – Swiss Olympic President Jörg Schild
Earlier this week GamesBids.com reported that although Switzerland has been inspired by Agenda 2020 to move forward with a bid – the National Olympic Committee is considering many factors beyond the reforms as part of their overall strategy to win on the international stage – including an emphasis on strong communications and a positive athlete’s experience.
“We will spend the next few months, with the interested regions, developing projects that can bring a real, practical and visible added value to our country. We will explain what the Games can do to a country like Switzerland,” Schild added.
Swiss Olympic will require that cities hold referendums, where required by local law, during the process and only those with successful results will have the chance to be nominated to bid on the international stage.
2022 Winter Games runner-up Almaty in Kazakhstan along with Stockholm, Calgary and Quebec are considered potential rivals for a Swiss bid when applications are due into the IOC late in 2017. A potential Lake Placid bid was deferred this week when U.S. Olympic officials said it would instead be focusing on the Los Angeles 2024 Summer Games bid currently underway.