More than half in Sweden say they would attend Paralympic Winter Games if held locally in 2030, a boost for the Olympic bid

More than half of Swedes surveyed said they would attend the Paralympic Winter Games in person in 2030 if they were to be held in Sweden. The same poll revealed almost 25 percent “can imagine” seeing both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games live in the competition venues in 2030.

Skating in Stockholm (SOK Photo)
Skating in Stockholm (SOK Photo)

The results are according to a Kantar Public poll commissioned by the Swedish Paralympic Committee (SPK), the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) and the Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) and taken between April 4 and 12 from among 3,300 respondents.

Last month another poll showed 70 percent across Sweden supported the 2030 Winter Olympics bid.

Earlier this year the SOK entered into a dialogue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to explore the feasibility of hosting the Winter Games in 2030, entering a sparse race that had included interest from Vancouver in Canada, Sapporo in Japan and Barcelona in Spain. But all have since stepped backed from formally bidding and the IOC was forced to reset the race in December citing the need for more time to analyze how the climate crisis might impact future hosts.

Switzerland has since expressed interest, and Salt Lake City in the United States remains focused on hosting the 2034 Games but will be available for 2030 as a backup.

The Paralympic Winter Games have been tightly connected to the Winter Olympics since 1992 when both were staged back-to-back in Albertville, France, sharing many of the same venues. Since then, every city awarded either the Summer or Winter editions signs a contract to stage both the Olympics and Paralympics.

“That so many people also want to see the Paralympics in the arenas is a strong proof of what we are experiencing, the interest in parasports has increased like an avalanche in Sweden in recent years,” SPK Chair Åsa Llinares Norlin said.

The poll also revealed that one in four Swedes watch the Paralympics on television while three in four watch the Olympic Games.

Sweden is the most successful Winter Olympics nation never to host the Winter Games despite eight previous bids. Stockholm hosted the Summer Games in 1912.

Sweden last bid for the 2026 edition with Stockholm Åre going down in defeat to Italy’s Milan-Cortina by a vote of 47 to 34. Both had outlasted five other cites – four that withdrew and one that was disqualified by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) evaluation. Following the contentious vote in June 2019, IOC President Thomas Bach blamed Sweden’s poor public support for the loss.

The IOC has since further emphasized that it does not want new venues built for the event, and instead prefers existing venues be leveraged wherever they are – even if across international borders. Accordingly the SOK has engaged with communities in capital Stockholm along with Falun, Åre and Östersund as potential hosts, and sliding sports such as luge are proposed to be held in Sigulda, Latvia.

The current uptick in public support, which was at only 55 percent for Sweden during the 2026 campaign, seems to be the result of these new cost savings measures that were introduced after Sochi in Russia reportedly spent over USD $50 billion on infrastructure to support the 2014 Games.

Officials will continue studying the feasibility of a new bid with an update expected at Sweden’s Sport Confederation meeting from May 26 to 28. A decision will be made later this year.

There is no set timeline for the election of the the 2030 host, but IOC President Thomas Bach has already suggested that it would not happen this calendar year. IOC officials maintain that “more than six” parties are involved in discussions to host future Winter Games but would not name them. The IOC Future Host Commission is studying the possibility of siting both the 2030 and the 2034 Games at a single meeting, and potentially electing a permanent pool of climate-capable hosts to stage all future Winter Games on a rotating basis.

“The fact that there is so much interest in actually following our athletes in the Olympics and Paralympics at home creates the conditions to strengthen the Swedish model and continue the work that the preliminary study has begun, with frequent dialogues with all these parties and stakeholders,” SOK Chair Hans von Uthmann said.

“Together we can bring the world’s largest winter sports festival to Sweden in 2030.”

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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