Vancouver’s 2030 Olympic bid welcomes “more time” given by IOC, with more options for Province to consider

The Vancouver 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid rejected in October by the British Columbia government may get a second chance, now that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) essentially restarted the race with a surprise announcement Tuesday.

Vancouver's BC Place Stadium (Photo: FIFA/Twitter)
Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium (Photo: FIFA/Twitter)

Expected to narrow the field of candidates towards a 2023 host election, the IOC Executive Board instead decided to postpone the bid process indefinitely to reexamine requirements and possible new strategies for allocating the Winter Games amid the climate crisis. New hosts will need to meet climate-capable benchmarks and could become part of a rotating pool of permanent Winter Games sites.

Now the IOC won’t elect a Winter Games host before 2024, and in the interim new bid proposals will be welcomed – including for 2034 – to join B.C. and rivals Sapporo and Salt Lake City.

On Wednesday IOC President Thomas Bach hinted that a ’30 and ’34 dual award could come before his term ends in 2025, backtracking from his comments earlier in the year when he claimed he would leave the ’34 decision to his successor to ensure good governance.

“I think it would be too late in ‘26 for a double award. Four years, even if you have extremely well prepared cities and regions, four years is pretty short,” Bach said following his quarterly Executive Board meeting from IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In October British Columbia Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Lisa Bear said “there are billions of dollars in direct costs, and potential guarantee and indemnity liability risks on this (2030) project that could jeopardize our government’s ability to address pressures facing British Columbians right now. Based on careful consideration, the Province is declining to support a bid.

Now the IOC is welcoming national Olympic committees, including the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), to discuss 2034 bids as well – and possibly a much longer term commitment to become part of the permanent pool of Winter Games hosts. Bach speculated, however, that the establishment of a rotation system would likely follow the 2030 election.

And instead of slamming the door on new applicants which had been expected this month, the IOC has opened the door for new discussions and possible new bidders.

In this continuous dialogue we have the opportunity to welcome projects, until we close the continuous dialogue – yes we can have projects,” IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi said Wednesday.

“There are a number of parties that are looking into the distant future that we have been talking to in the last weeks and months and these discussions will certainly continue including with this new time frame,” he added.

“The COC and CPC support the recommendation of Future Host Commission to further assess the long-term view of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” a joint statement read, as the bid feasibility team remained optimistic amid the new landscape.

“We continue to see value in the opportunity for all partners to come together and fully explore the potential benefits of hosting a 2030 Winter Games in British Columbia, and this decision allows for more time for dialogue amongst parties on the significant amount of work done to date”

Olympic Bid 2030 Reset: IOC removes timelines, considers double allocation and will allow new bids to enter race

As the BC 2030 team seeks the discussion with the Province that they have so far been denied, the fundamentals have changed and time restrictions lifted. Ministers will need to consider a new discussion.

Meanwhile, Sapporo’s bid also got a lift by the IOC’s new direction and comments. Tarnished by fallout from the emerging corruption scandal surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Games, Japanese officials will now have more time to address and correct the lack of governance that allowed for bribery and bid-rigging as those Games were organized.

Dubi said “we have the utmost confidence that the authorities will get to the bottom of this investigation when it comes to business practices. So, full trust in what they are looking into which is to create a governance framework for event hosting in the future will positively impact the project for Sapporo.”

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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