Regions looking to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2030 have now been given loose expectations on when they can expect the bid race to end. At the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 139th Session held in Lausanne, Switzerland Friday IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper revealed for the first time that the hopeful target for a host election is next spring in India. That would mean the field could be cut to as few as one candidate in December, it was confirmed.
“The [IOC Executive Board] yesterday received a progress report from Octavian Morariu, Chair of the Future Host Commission of the Olympic Winter Games,” De Kepper told IOC members, most who had connected to the all-members meeting virtually.
“The EB acknowledged the thorough ongoing work by the future host commission and some strong value proposals which may lead us to be in a position to elect a host for the 2030 Games at the 140th IOC Session in Mumbai next year.”
The Session is schedule to begin May 30, 2023.
“In order to get there, the Executive Board would have to take the decision about the targeted dialogue in December during its meeting,” IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed at a press conference following the meeting.
Once the IOC finds potential partner hosts, it could select one or more for ‘targeted dialogue’ with the intention of seeking membership election approval after vetting and due diligence. At this point, untargeted bids could remain in the process in the case the targeted city is not successful, or to instead pursue a Games further in the future.
IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi said that a lot of the work in determining the right partner will occur over the summer and into the fall.
He added “we have very strong proposals and this is very pleasing at this stage.”
There are currently four projects known to be underway that are looking to host a second Games in their cities. Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver are eager to see a second Winter Olympics while Barcelona hopes to be the second city ever to host both a Summer and Winter Games edition. Other bids could be in the mix, but under new bidding rules, the IOC will not acknowledge projects that are involved in the continuous dialogue process that makes them eligible to become candidates.
De Kepper also admitted “there are technical visits taking place to winter interested parties” after the IOC had remained tight-lipped about a trio of technical experts who have already visited Salt Lake City and Vancouver and have planned a visit to Sapporo later this month. A trip to Barcelona has to be canceled due to internal jurisdictional issues with Spain’s potential bid planned for Barcelona and the Pyrenees.
These unannounced visits were later described by the IOC as services provided to interested hosts, but only after media discovered that they were about to take place. GamesBids.com exclusively revealed the Vancouver visit only hours before it was set to begin. The IOC was clear in differentiating these technical visits from the high-profile IOC Evaluation Commission visits of the past that were key in determining what city would win the bid.
In a quest to eliminate “too many losers” from bid races that often had up to 11 cities battling head-to-head for the rights to host the Games, President Bach implemented a new process whereby future campaigns would happen in private with a commission proactively seeking out potential partners and the Executive Board narrowing down the options to eliminate any embarrassment for projects that failed. Timelines were eliminated to allow the process to run at its own pace, removing pressure to make decisions when the timing is not right.
Brisbane was first to be elected under this process with a surprise announcement coming last year to single out the Australian city to host the 2032 Summer Games.
Bach Friday credited the new process for renewing interest in hosting the Games after years of seeing most cities dropping bid campaigns due to lost referendums or public pushback.
“Under Olympic Agenda 2020 we revolutionized our procedure to select hosts for the Olympic Games. This has also greatly contributed to our position of strength,” Bach told IOC members.
“Today, we have interested parties from all three continents which have the geographic and climatic conditions to organize the Olympic Winter Games 2030.
“As far as the Games of the Olympiad are concerned, we have already now a significant number of interested parties from around the globe for the Olympic Games 2036 and some even for 2040.
“This level of interest in hosting the Games of the Olympiad is unique, I cannot remember a time when we had such a significant number of interested parties to host Olympic Games 14 or event 18 years in advance.”
The next Winter Games are scheduled to be staged across Northern Italy by Milan-Cortina 2026.