Ukraine accelerates Winter Youth Olympics bid now targeting the 2028 edition

Ukrainian officials have plotted a path to hosting the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that now includes a campaign to hold the 2028 Youth Olympic Winter Games.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy weclomes Olympic athletes home from Tokyo 2020, August 17, 2021 (Photo: Office of President of Ukraine)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy weclomes Olympic athletes home from Tokyo 2020, August 17, 2021 (Photo: Office of President of Ukraine)

Earlier this year officials including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Huttsait said they were committed to a bid for the 2030 Winter Games to be followed by a possible Youth Olympics in 2030 or 2032.  This week Huttsait confirmed that an official dialogue has already begun with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host in 2030, adding that the President now supports a bid for the earlier 2028 Youth Games.

“The President set a task – both the President and the entire sports community really want – we are entering the fight for the Olympic Games in Ukraine,” Huttsait told local media.

“Youth in 2028 and Winter Olympic Games in 2030.

Huttsait said hosting these Games will elevate the prestige in the nation and bring in new investors to develop sports infrastructure.

“We understand that the more sports infrastructure, the more children will come to study.”

The province of Gangwon in South Korea is slated to host the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics, leveraging the legacy left when the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games were held in the same region.

The IOC’s Future Host Commission for the Winter Games is currently exploring potential hosts for both the 2028 and 2030 Games, but there is no set timetable for the final decisions.  Under a new process, the IOC will announce a preferred candidate once the right partnership is found.

Ukraine’s plans could become a compelling package deal for the IOC that would see the selected region gradually ramp up capabilities and learn through the earlier Youth event towards a successful Winter Games.

But Huttsait acknowledged that some infrastructure development would be required ahead of the Games –  a prospect that the IOC has shied away from in recent years due to the inherent risk of project cost overruns.

“We are considering our western region.  Bukovel, for example, there is already a certain infrastructure,” he said.

“Yes, we do not have enough hockey palaces, yes, we do not have enough tracks for giant slalom, but some of this already exists.”

Ukraine’s Lviv entered a bid to host the Games in 2022 but was later forced to drop out of the race due to political tensions that included Russian separatists.

At a meeting in September President Zelenskyy told IOC President Thomas Bach “the big dream is the Olympic Games in Ukraine and I really believe in it.  I am sure that our great state deserves to host the Olympic Games.”

He vowed to send a delegation to IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to further discuss options.

Currently Salt Lake City in the United States, Vancouver in Canada, Sapporo in Japan and a joint project among Pyrenees-Barcelona-Zaragoza are involved in discussions with the IOC to host a future Winter Games.

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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