United States To Consider 2026 Or 2030 Olympic Winter Games Bid

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Friday discussed a possible future Olympic Winter Games bid at its Board of Directors meeting.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti meets with IOC President Thomas Bach and USOC Chief Larry Probst in Lausanne on September 3, 2015 (LA 24 Photo)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti meets with IOC President Thomas Bach and USOC Chief Larry Probst in Lausanne on September 3, 2015 (LA 24 Photo)

“We are interested in hosting the Winter Games,” USOC Chair Larry Probst said following the meeting.

“Ideally that’s probably 2030,” he added, “so there is no confusion with the preparations for [Los Angeles] 2028.”

In September Los Angeles was awarded the 2028 Olympic Games as part of a dual-allocation that also gave Paris the 2024 edition.  The unprecedented decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), that was made after the two strong candidates were the only bids remaining in the race, meant that Los Angeles would have to wait 11 years before hosting the Games.  That also left the unusual opportunity that the United States could also bid for a Winter Games that would occur sooner.

While the USOC focus may be on 2030, after four European cities dropped out of the 2022 Winter Games race leaving only two cities for the final vote, and the current 2026 race already facing challenges and roadblocks for interested cities – there may be mutual interest for a U.S. city to be in the race for 2026.

“If the IOC considers the possibility to award [both] 2026 and 2030, as they did with ’24 and ’28, we certainly want to be in that conversation,” Probst said alluding to a second dual-allocation for the Winter Games that wasn’t ruled out by IOC President Thomas Bach at a Session in September.

For the 2026 Games Innsbruck is facing a difficult referendum on Sunday with Sion likely to face a similar vote next year; Calgary still needs City Council approval to move forward and other cities have yet to make firm commitments.

“We also need to set up a process… so there is plenty of work to be done,” Probst added.

The USOC has said that Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe have expressed interest in hosting.  Probst said he believes the IOC wants the next edition of the Games to be held in a more “traditional location,” something he reads as Europe or North America after two consecutive Winter Games will have been hosted in Asia.

More discussions are planned to follow.  The IOC deadline for applicants is March 31, 2018 and the final election will be held in Milan, Italy in September 2019.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.