Sweden’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2030 will go on to the next step following the release of a preliminary feasibility study Thursday. The move makes the Nordic nation the top contender in a sparsely contested race.
“We have done a good job so far and found the basic conditions to be able to deliver sustainable, democratic and cost-effective Games,” Swedish Olympic Committee (SOC) Chair Hans von Uthmann said after the study was unveiled Thursday among the SOC, the Swedish Paralympic Committee (SPC) and the National Sports Federation (RF) in Framgångshallen, Bosön.
“We see that together we have the opportunity, know-how and will. Now in the next phase we will go even deeper into the details.”
The preliminary study was presented to Sports Minister Jakob Forssmed earlier in this week.
Von Uthmann, the study’s convener, has put in a formal request to the IOC requesting that Sweden move on to the next phase of ongoing dialogue, something the International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomed according to the SOC. The phase is expected to last until December when SOC officials believe the IOC will choose preferred 2030 candidates for targeted dialogue and an eventual election. Previously, the IOC has suggested that move could come as early as October – but there is no set schedule and timetables have remained flexible.
Officials have proposed staging ice sports in the Stockholm region, Nordic events in Falun and snow sports in Åre and Östersund. The bobsled, luge and skeleton sliding track would be across the border in Latvia. For the Paralympics, the Nordic events would be held in Östersund. Complying with the IOC sustainability directives, only existing venues would be used without any new construction.
Now the bid will develop a detailed budget and seek various guarantees, including from venue owners and relevant governments.
“It is important that we continue to do thorough work,” RF chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said.
“We want to be able to answer all questions that we can get from the sports movement, politics, civil society and business.”
A joint Stockholm-Åre bid to host in 2026 had only 55 percent public support and while the City of Stockholm welcomed the Games, it only offered to lease facilities to the organizing committee rather than financially back the project. Milan-Cortina in Italy won those Games instead.
In April, a SOC commissioned survey showed an improved level of support with 7 in 10 Swedes saying they would back a 2030 Winter Games bid.
Sweden is a recent addition to the 2030 race, filling a void left after the IOC hit reset on what had been a fierce competition at its outset last year. Spain withdrew a Pyrenees bid when joint partners couldn’t agree to a venue allocation; Canada stepped away from a Vancouver-centered British Columbia bid when the province denied necessary funding and Sapporo hit pause as it tried to weather the Tokyo 2020 bribery scandal that has devastated public support.
On Tuesday the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said it would support Sapporo or another region’s bid to host in 2034 or beyond, apparently putting an end to the 2030 run.
The IOC has been left with limited options for siting future Winter Games which positions Sweden as a frontrunner, and possibly the only real candidate in the race.
Salt Lake City is ready as a backup if no other viable 2030 host can be found, but officials at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) appear tightly focused on hosting in 2034 instead, allowing a gap following the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games to maximize potential revenue opportunities.
Switzerland is also exploring a possible bid and the IOC has indicated that more than six regions are looking at hosting future Winter Olympics. Under the IOC’s continuous dialogue process interested bidders can discuss projects in private and without commitment and to explore mutual opportunities. IOC officials have said not to expect a final vote before 2024.
An IOC meeting scheduled for October 15-17 in Mumbai, India could set the stage with a possible announcement of one or more preferred candidates if the IOC doesn’t wait until December. That all-members Session may also be used to get approvals for a possible 2030 and 2034 double awarding of the Games or for the implementation of a permanent pool of Winter Games hosts. IOC Executives have discussed these options as a means to secure sites decades in advance as climate change reduces the availability of viable hosts.
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.