Pyrenees-Barcelona-Zaragoza 2030 Olympic Winter Games bid holds first Technical Commission meeting

On Tuesday the first meeting of the Technical Commission for the proposed Pyrenees-Barcelona-Zaragoza 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games was held at Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) headquarters in Madrid.

First meeting of the Technical Commission for the Pirineus-Barcelona-Zaragoza 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid, December 21, 2021 (COE Photo)
First meeting of the Technical Commission for the Pyrenees-Barcelona-Zaragoza 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid, December 21, 2021 (COE Photo)

Barcelona is looking to be only the second city to host both the Summer and Winter editions of the Games after Beijing becomes first to do it when the Winter Games open in February.  Spain has been defeated in five straight Summer bids since Barcelona hosted in 1992, and lost four Winter Games bids by Jaca over the same period.

Named for the three regions that could host venues should the Games be awarded to Spain, the 2030 bid has joined international rivals in a growing race.

In the running is Salt Lake City where last week the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced it preferred hosting in 2030 if it can work out the details with an already scheduled Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games to be held only 18 months earlier.  Earlier this month First Nation leaders representing a possible Vancouver 2030 bid in Canada said they are studying the feasibility of the first-ever Indigenous-led Games in Olympic history.

Sapporo in Japan is also preparing a bid, and leaders plan to hold a public survey next year to measure public approval of the project.  Support in Japan is shaky following the difficult Tokyo 2020 Summer Games that were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ukraine has also announced its interest in developing a Winter Games project, but security concerns and a potential conflict with Russia are slowing efforts.

But the four-year-old Spanish bid has been plagued with political infighting among the regions that first saw Pyrenees earn top billing over Barcelona in the project name, and recently resulted in Zaragoza being added to the lengthening moniker.

In addition, a Catalan citizens group wants the entire project shelved due to environmental and economic fears.  The group, Stop JJOO, is hoping to enforce a referendum over the bid that has already been promised by the Catalan government in 2019.

Turbulence surrounds Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 Winter Olympics Bid as IOC VP calls for unanimity

Last month COE member and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch called for “unanimity” in supporting his nation’s Winter Games bid when it appeared to be collapsing.

The COE’s Technical Commission for the bid is chaired by President Alejandro Blanco and is comprised of COE treasurer Víctor Sánchez, president of the Royal Spanish Federation of Ice Sports Frank González and the president of the Royal Spanish Federation of Winter Sports May Peus.

For Spain’s Higher Sports Council the Commission includes secretary general of the Ministry of Culture and Sports Victor Francos,  general director of Sports of the CSD Albert Soler and former president of the CSD and Olympic athlete María José Rienda.

The Catalan government is represented by director of the Catalan Sports Council Aleix Villatoro, Secretary General of the Department of the Vice Presidency and Digital Policies and Territory Ricard Fonti Hereu, and Manel Vila i Motlló, advisor in transversal projects.

The Aragon government is fronted by director of the Development Office of the Jaca City Council José Ángel Hierro, sports director of the Aragonese Federation of Winter Sports Carlos Lannes and Ricardo Aparicio, deputy head of mission of the Spanish Olympic Team in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

There is no set timetable for the awarding of the 2030 Olympic Winter Games.  Under new IOC rules introduced in 2019, interested bidders engage in a continuous dialogue with the IOC until the right partnership is found and recommended to the Executive Board..

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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