After the project was stalled at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic last year, Spanish officials are set to talk up the relaunched Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 Winter Olympic bid next week in Tokyo as the postponed 2020 Olympic Games begin.
Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco told El Mundo Deportivo that the bid has received critical multi-level government support from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and regional leaders Pere Aragones from Catalonia and Javier Lambán representing Aragon. The proposed project includes venues spanning the two regions in the north of Spain.
Letters confirming this new support and the firm intentions to bid have been sent to International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Switzerland where they will receive attention from the Future Host Commission for Winter Games chair Octavian Morariu.
Further, Blanco says he will hand deliver the letters to IOC President Thomas Bach in Tokyo next week.
“Apart from sending the letters to the IOC headquarters in Switzerland, I will also take a copy of the four letters with me to Tokyo – mine and that of the three presidents – which I will hand over to President Thomas Bach at the IOC Olympic session that takes place in the course of the Tokyo Olympics,” Blanco said.
“It is very important that we all go hand in hand with the IOC, and when it is considered that the project is finished, it will be time to present it.”
The race to host the 2030 Winter Games will quickly come into sharp focus once the IOC awards the 2032 Summer Games to Brisbane, as is expected to occur on Wednesday at the organization’s all-members session held ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Last month Bach told GamesBids.com that the IOC was seizing an opportunity to award Australia its third Olympics four years earlier than the typical lead time, but that the sooner Winter Games required more effort to be sited and that would happen at a later date.
The new bid process introduced by the IOC in 2019 did away with fixed timelines and head-to-head campaigning to instead allow ongoing discussions among the IOC and interested candidates to come to a natural conclusion. Brisbane is the first Olympic host candidate to be singled out as a preferred candidate under the news rules, after months of ongoing discussions.
Brisbane got to the table first and fast, giving the bid a marked advantage that was important during the pandemic. Spain’s dash to the table just moments after Brisbane’s expected crowning could be a big boost for that bid.
Campaigning for the 2030 Games has been occurring behind closed doors as per the new IOC process, with Salt Lake City making it clear it wants to host its second Games in either 2030 or 2034. Vancouver has expressed interest in reprising the successful 2010 Games in 2030, but has deferred a possible campaign until later in the year. Earlier interest from Sapporo in Japan is now questionable due to struggles with the postponed Tokyo Games.
The proposed plan includes ice events and ceremonies centered around 1992 Summer Games host Barcelona, and snow events would be staged in the mountain regions of Catalonia and Aragon.
“The Pyrenees of Aragon offer a broader candidacy with more possibilities, and we cannot forget that in the Aragonese Pyrenees there are many people who live, understand and support winter and ice sports,” Blanco said.
But the leader of the Argon region Javier Lambán said he was set to withdraw his participation in the bid after seeing the letter written by his Catalonia counterpart to the IOC which made it appear that the two regions would not have equal participation in the project and Catalonia would have priority.
Blanco told El Mundo Deportivo that this was not the case, and the details of the project will be developed when the parties gather in September with equality being a guiding principle.
“These have to be the Winter Olympics of understanding and dialogue, and everything will be done in agreement to present the best candidacy with the agreement of everyone,” Blanco said.
If successful, Barcelona would be the second city to host both Summer and Winter editions of the Games. Beijing will become the first to host the two versions when China welcomes the Winter Games next February.
Milan-Cortina in Italy will stage the Winter Games in 2026.