IOC unlikely to reveal the winner of the 2030 Olympic Winter Games bid

When the International Olympic Committeee (IOC) selects a host for the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the winning bidder may not be revealed to the public.

Italian bid team celebrate the awarding of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games to Milan Cortina (IOC Photo)
In what may be a tradition that ends, Italian bid team celebrate the awarding of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games to Milan Cortina (IOC Photo)

The IOC is currently in a dialogue with multiple bids to host the event with a final decision expected later this year or next.  But has learned that when the final location is chosen, IOC officials might keep the decision under wraps.

“It’s very possible that we’ll just choose a bid that’s the best fit for our long-term vision and move on from there without any announcement, to organize a Games that won’t immediately be under a microscope,” an IOC source said under the condition of anonymity.

In 2019 the IOC completely revamped its site selection process, removing rigid timetables and reducing administrative overhead.  The previously transparent process that produced media exposure, published project plans and a measured race with clear milestones was instead pushed behind closed doors.

IOC president Thomas Bach previously said the new opaque process, where nations considering bids can engage with the IOC in privacy, was designed because there were “too many losers” as a result of the traditional head-to-head bid races and dramatic final votes.  Cities that put themselves on the world stage against rivals ended up embarrassed, deterring other regions from bidding in the future.

But officials within the IOC feel there is a need to take this strategy one step further.

Last year Brisbane was the first city elected under this new process after it was singled out for targeted dialogue, approved by the IOC Executive Board and finally rubberstamped by the IOC Session to host the Summer Games in 2032.  Developing bids not chosen under the new targeted process were nonetheless angered by that sudden decision, with organizers in India, Germany, South Korea, Qatar and other regions feeling slighted, and indeed losers in the process.

The race for 2030 currently involves at least four projects including from Pyrenees-Barcelona, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver – and possibly others that have chosen not to reveal themselves.

“If we don’t announce the winning bid,” the IOC source speculated, “we don’t imply any losing bids.”

“There will be no losers, and no backlash from cites that are left out.  We can simply send an email with the results to the lucky winning city.

“Certainly once organizing activities begin in the elected city, people will begin to notice and figure it out.  But we think it’s best to let that realization evolve naturally, without any big announcement.  By then we will have all moved on and there will be no regrets to deal with.

When asked if perhaps a bid had already been chosen to host in 2030, the IOC staffer refused to further comment and abruptly ended the call.

Paris will host the next Summer Games in 2024 with Italy’s Milan-Cortina queued to stage the Winter Games in 2026.

[Editor’s Note: Happy April Fools Day!  This article is fictional in our traditional April Fools Day style.  Though the IOC has put much of the bid process under a cloak, we hope they will still tell us who wins, and if not, we’ll surely find out and let you know!]

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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