Hopes that a trio of European winter sport powerhouses could step in and save the 2030 Winter Olympics fizzled Thursday when one of the proposed partners said it wouldn’t be involved.
In a statement made only hours after the news of a potential bid was first published in Swiss-based Le Temps, the mayor of Chamonix said the French resort village would not join Valais, Switzerland and Aosta Valley in Italy to vie for the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The joint project was to be centered around Espace Mont-Blanc, a cross-border cooperation initiative among the three nations to promote development and conservation in the mountainous region where the borders intersect.
“Following up on the many articles in the Swiss and French press this morning, Mr. Éric Fournier, Mayor of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, indicates that while cross-border cooperation with our Valais neighbors is at the heart of the concerns of the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley, Mont-Blanc, the project of a common candidacy for the Olympic Games as relayed by certain media is not on the agenda,” a statement from Chamonix read.
“This comes from a private initiative and not from the political authorities of the Espace Mont-Blanc, which are currently actively working on the roadmap linked to the next European program with the central subject of adapting our economy to climate change.”
Without Chamonix in the mix – the partner that would have anchored the project – the 2030 bid is no longer viable.
Emerging three-nation European joint super bid could vie to host 2030 Winter Olympics
Swiss partnership in the project was already considered unlikely as it would need to face a difficult referendum. Over the past decade three potential bids were dissolved after the public refused to approve funding, including in a 2018 vote across Valais.
Italy is already preparing to host the 2026 Winter Games in the region with Milan-Cortina and it is a stretch to believe local governments would want to carry the burden for two consecutive editions.
The joint bid appeared to be a perfect fit for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after already having run out of options for 2030 and extending the race to further explore solutions. Promising past bidders from Sapporo, Vancouver, Spain and Ukraine stepped back from projects for various reasons. Salt Lake City is interested in hosting, but officials say the U.S. city is targeting 2034.
This latest news will strike a further blow to the IOC who are already behind as they struggle to site the 2030 Winter Games.
The IOC last month said it will set criteria for future host cities to ensure they are climate capable, and that a possible pool of permanent hosts will be considered for a fixed rotation. The European joint bid seemed tailor-made for this new IOC path that also permits cross-border Games.
But don’t completely rule out a French Winter Games bid. In September the regional government of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur launched a study to examine a possible bid for the 2030, 2034 or 2038 Games. The IOC said it would not elect a 2030 host in 2023 and could award the 2030 and 2034 Games as part of a double allocation as early as 2024.
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.