Ukraine President tells IOC that his nation will launch bid to host the Olympic Winter Games

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach during a meeting in Kiev that his nation will initiate an official discussion to launch a bid for the Winter Olympics.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right) and IOC President Thomas Bach in Kyiv September 11, 2021 (Office of Ukraine President photo)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right) and IOC President Thomas Bach in Kyiv September 11, 2021 (Office of Ukraine President photo)

During a meeting held on the sidelines of the Ukraine Olympic Committee 30th anniversary celebration in the Capital Saturday, Zelenskyy and Bach discussed the recently completed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and intentions to bid for a future Winter Games.

According to a statement from the President’s office, Ukraine will “enter into the dialogue phase with the IOC and will send a delegation to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne as soon as possible.”

“We believe that together we will achieve that our dream comes true,” Zelenskyy said during remarks at the anniversary event attended by 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.”

Under a new Olympic bidding process introduced in 2019, engaging in official dialogue with the IOC’s Future Host Commission will put the interested party in the running for any upcoming Games that have yet to be allocated.  With Beijing set to host the Games in February and Milan-Cortina already elected to stage the event in 2026 – Ukraine could be considered for the 2030 Winter Games and beyond.  Rivals in that race already include Pyrenees-Barcelona in Spain, Sapporo in Japan, Salt Lake City in the United States and Vancouver in Canada.

When IOC officials find a suitable partner for an edition of the Games, that region will be named the preferred candidate for targeted dialogue putting it in position for membership election.  Earlier this year Brisbane was named sole candidate for the 2032 Summer games under the same process and was officially named host city in July.

There is no set timeline for this process.

Ukraine last bid for the 2022 Games but the nominated city Lviv was forced to withdraw the campaign in 2014 after the Russian incursion in Crimea that overwhelmed the nation with political unrest and violence.  Three other cities were forced to drop out of that contest leaving Beijing to narrowly defeat its only remaining rival Almaty, Kazakhstan in the final election.

Last January Ukraine’s Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Huttsait announced that his office was exploring a possible Winter Olympics bid and added that the 2030 or 2032 Youth Olympic Games were also on the radar.

Zelenskyy said that his nation needs to do better in supporting its Olympic Champions and athletes and will need to develop better infrastructure to allow them to train effectively at home.

“Therefore, we have started to renovate and build the sports infrastructure,” the President said.

“First of all, for children. This is very important, because love for sports should be nurtured since childhood.

“We have started the Healthy Ukraine program.  I am proud of this program.  It provides for the construction of 2,000 parks for activities in Ukraine, 10,000 sports grounds, 19 ice arenas throughout the country, 100 stadiums and 25 sports magnets.”

Zelenskyy added that winning the bid will be a tall task but quoted his father who was a weightlifter “it is always not easy to go and try to lift something.  It is easy not to try and walk away.”

“Therefore, we will definitely try on the Olympic Games,” he said.

According to the President’s spokesperson, Bach welcomed the possible bid “given the great sports tradition of Ukraine, and after having seen a very impressive presentation of the most recent sports and sports infrastructure in the country.”

During the ceremony Bach was awarded with the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, IV degree, given for distinguished services to the state and people of the Ukrainian nation in the field of state building, strengthening the international prestige of Ukraine.

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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