The 2030 Olympic Winter Games bid from Pyrenees-Barcelona remains on track despite ongoing disruptions from the Coronavirus pandemic, Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco told Mundo Deportivo this week.
But bid organizers still await required government approvals that remain outstanding from the Spanish national government and the from leadership in the Aragon region.
“Right now, with the situation in the world, nobody is moving forward.,” Blanco said.
“Currently there are other priorities at all levels and as soon as the agreement is dedicated we have time to present a great project.
“There have never been an Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and, without any doubt, it is a winning bid, but agreement, understanding and dialogue must prevail.”
Last month the President of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, pledged his support for the Olympic project in a letter to Blanco. Just days later he was ousted from office due to election irregularities.
He had said he wanted to continue to push forward, “in order to continue in a good starting position to win the nomination.”
He added that the bid represents “one of the country’s strategic projects to address in a transversal way a whole series of public policies in terms of territorial balance and sustainable development”.
The International Olympic Olympic Committee (IOC) soft-launched the 2030 race in January when it announced that the Spanish bid had joined discussions along with Sapporo in Japan and Salt Lake City in the United States. The U.S. bid is more suitable for a 2034 Games with Los Angeles already set to host the Summer Games in 2028, and Sapporo’s interest in 2030 may have softened due to the financial losses associated with the delay of Japan’s Tokyo 2020 Games due to COVID-19.
The IOC has hinted that other jurisdictions have also entered into discussions which may include Vancouver in Canada where officials expressed interest earlier in the year. But after the 2026 race resulted in only two remaining candidates from seven applicants, the IOC will have great interest in the Spanish bid that could quickly become the favorite as the process resumes.
“At this moment, they are waiting for what had already been discussed, the agreement between the three governments, the Spanish, the Catalan and the Aragonese, to come to fruition,” Blanco said.
“The technical work of one part has already been carried out, the technical part needs to be specified in Aragon to make a global candidacy and as soon as it is available, we must continue.”
The COE had hoped to collect all approvals and submit an application to the IOC this past summer, but the pandemic caused delays across the board.
“You have to be expectant, wait for the agreement to be signed and from there continue working in silence.
“All that remains is the next step, the confirmation that we are going to present the candidacy, complete the technical work. ”
Blanco claims previous polls have supported the Pyrenees-Barcelona bid.
Last year the IOC restructured its bid process, stripping it of many formalities including set timetables and pre-planned documents and presentations. Transparency was also lost along the way as now interested bids and the IOC initiate discussions in private and Host City Commissions can recommend choices to the Executive Board at any time.
With the IOC now focusing on delivering the delayed and modified Tokyo 2020 Games and the Beijing 2022 Winter Games – both only six months apart – the election of the 2030 Winter Games host may have to wait until 2022.
Barcelona hosted the Summer Olympics in 1992, and if elected to host the Winter edition in 2030 it would become the second city after Beijing to host both events.
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.