Recent 2030 bidders Japan and Canada remain optimistic after Winter Olympics dialogue with IOC set to be shut down for four years

Both the Japanese and Canadian National Olympic Committees remained in continuous dialogue much of this year to discuss future opportunities including 2034 and 2038, now according to the IOC announcement they'll be locked out of those discussions for as many as four years.

Leading contenders to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games only last year, proponents behind promising bids from Sapporo in Japan and Vancouver in Canada learned this week that discussions to host any future edition could be shut down for four years.

Vancouver's BC Place Stadium (Photo: FIFA/Twitter)
Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium (Photo: FIFA/Twitter)

On Wednesday the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board announced that it had approved Future Host Commission (FHC) recommendations to name French Alps as the preferred host for 2030 and Salt Lake City as the choice for 2034. Pending contract negotiations, guarantee fulfillments and other process items to be carried out in the “targeted dialogue” stage, the two bids are likely to get elected with rubberstamp approval from IOC members at their Session in Paris next July.

Additionally, the IOC positioned a bid from Switzerland in a newly named “privileged dialogue” stage meaning the nation has the exclusive opportunity to discuss its project for the next available Winter Games in 2038 – shutting all other interested parties out of the process until the end of 2027. That’s the deadline for Swiss Olympic to optimize venue plans that had been proposed for 2030 and potentially hold a referendum to measure public support.

Should Swiss stakeholders fulfill the requirements, the nation could go on to host the 2038 Winter Games 90 years following its previous St. Moritz 1948 edition. If not, or if the Swiss cancel plans, the door will reopen for so-called continuous dialogue and other interested parties.

As it stands now, the next openly available Winter Games for hosting will be 1942 – almost two decades away.

Sapporo had been the leading contender in the 2030 race from the outset in 2021. Originally targeting to host in 2026, Sapporo had to step back and reprioritize following the 2018 Hokkaido Earthquake that caused death and destruction. Then while preparing for targeted dialogue that the IOC had planned to begin last December, the Tokyo 2020 bribery and corruption scandal hit headlines, diminishing Japanese support for the Olympics and tainting the Sapporo 2030 project. The city first paused the campaign, then dropped out completely this year to retarget for 2034, then 2038.

A First Nations bid from British Columbia to be centered around Vancouver was to be the first indigenous-led Games in Olympic history until the provincial government denied funding for the project, forcing efforts to the sideline last year.

Both the Japanese and Canadian National Olympic Committees remained in continuous dialogue much of this year to discuss future opportunities including 2034 and 2038.

A joint Barcelona and Pyrenees bid from Spain dropped out of the race earlier due to political issues. A proposed project from Ukraine was abandoned after the February 2022 Russian invasion.

Now, according to the IOC announcement, they’ll be locked out of those discussions for as many as four years.

Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) Secretary General Ogata Mitsugi confirmed to reporters Thursday that it has become impossible for his team to discuss the 2038 Games with the IOC. Surprised by the IOC’s decisions, he said the JOC will liaise with Sapporo officials on how to further conduct bidding activities that target 2038 and beyond.

Ogata said, however, the JOC is committed to supporting the city’s future attempts to host the Games by any means possible.

Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) officials were more tight-lipped on the news, only offering a statement from CEO and Secretary General David Shoemaker when asked for reaction by

It read “The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is happy to see strong interest in hosting the Winter Olympic Games from great winter sport nations.”

“The COC is committed to continuing to build upon Canada’s rich Games hosting history, and we hope to see Canada in line to host an Olympic Games in the future.”

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.

scroll to top