Ukraine reaffirms 2030 Winter Olympics bid in shadow of Russian threat

Ukraine has continued to prepare a bid to host the 2030 Olympic Winter Games despite escalating tensions due to the Russian buildup of troops along the border, sport minister Vadym Huttsait said Friday.

Ukraine at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games
Ukraine at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games (Photo: Ukraine NOC)

Last year Huttsait  declared Ukraine’s entry into the 2030 Olympic bid race and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later confirmed ambitions with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at a high-level meeting in September.

But Huttsait said a big challenge facing his bid is the need of additional infrastructure, not the Russian threat.

“Yes, we have inadequate infrastructure for the winter sports but we’re working on it,” he told Ukrainian parliament.

“We are now looking at how to start and conduct the Winter Olympics in Ukraine in 2030.”

Lviv in Ukraine launched a bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games but were compelled to withdraw from the race when Russian forces invaded Crimea in 2014.  An even bigger threat exists from Russia today while NATO tries to negotiate a diplomatic solution to avoid an armed conflict.

If Ukraine remains in the race it will join bids from Sapporo in Japan and Salt Lake City in the United States.  Potential projects are also being studied in Pyrenees-Barcelona and Vancouver in Canada.

There is no set timetable for the awarding of the Winter Olympics but there are signals that the IOC Executive Board may select its preferred candidate later this year, giving that bid first shot at signing the host contract.  Salt Lake City will be visiting IOC headquarters in Switzerland in the spring and Sapporo will poll its residents shortly after the Beijing Games close.  Pyrenees will schedule a referendum in the coming months.

Vancouver is still in an exploratory stage with its Indigenous leaders but claim the bid will not be ready until late this year.

A silver medal won by Olexander Abramenko in freestyle skiing has been the only Ukraine medal awarded at the Beijing Games.  Ukraine has never hosted an Olympics.

The Beijing 2022 Games are set to close Sunday after the Olympic flag handover to 2026 hosts Milan and Cortina in Italy .

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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