The Swiss Olympic Executive Board decided Wednesday to accept the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) invitation to ‘privileged dialogue’ with the goal of hosting the 2038 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The ‘Switzerland 203X Association” had been targeting to host the Winter Games in 2030 or 2034 until November last year when the IOC selected the French Alps and Salt Lake City as preferred candidates, respectively, for those editions. But unprecedently, the IOC suggested Swiss officials join a ‘privileged dialogue’ for 2038 giving the candidacy an exclusive window to prepare for a targeted dialogue to start no later then the end of 2027.
The IOC’s Future Host Commission recommended that Switzerland, which had been promoting a national Games, draw proposed venues into tighter clusters for a 2038 bid. Olympic officials also suggested that a referendum be held to confirm public buy-in to the project. Though the 203X project received 67 percent support in polling, Switzerland has abandoned bids in the past after failed referendums and poor public support, including as recently as Sion in 2026.
The Swiss Sports Parliament, a body of stakeholders including several sport federations, last November approved the project. But once Swiss Olympic revises plans for 2038, they’ll have to hold another vote for the bid to move ahead. A revised proposal will be presented to the Sports Parliament at an extraordinary meeting on May 23, 2024 so that Swiss Olympic members can review the process and the new presented budget.
Vice president of Swiss Olympic Ruth Wipfli Steinegger and president Swiss-Ski Urs Lehmann will lead the bid team and work with the public, government and other stakeholders to help determine requirements and build support for the project.
“After the extensive preparatory work last year and in view of the excellent starting point for our project at the IOC, I am pleased that the collaboration between the Switzerland 203X association and the IOC will continue for the time being and I am looking forward to the application to the sports parliament,” Swiss Olympic President Jürg Stahl said in a statement.
If Swiss Olympic and the IOC don’t come to an agreement before 2028, the 2038 Winter Games race will reopen to other regions.
Swiss Olympic’s Executive Board also agreed Wednesday to launch a feasibility study on a possible bid to host future European Championships with results promised by autumn 2024.
Italy’s Milan-Cortina is set to host the 2026 edition of the Winter Olympics.