Why IOC executives will confirm hosts of 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympics this Wednesday, more than a month ahead of official elections

Officially the Future Host Commission is designed to work independently but IOC president Thomas Bach and his Executives carry influence and have likely steered the bid assessment team in a direction that they already favor, making this week's decision merely a formality

Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzlerland (IOC Photo)
Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland (IOC Photo)

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board will decide which bids, if any, will be recommended for election during a regularly scheduled meeting at its Lausanne headquarters this Wednesday.

But with months already invested in vetting preferred candidates that were named last November and no other rival bids in sight, it’s all but certain that projects from the French Alps for 2030 and Salt Lake City, Utah for 2034 will be put forward for the all-members election in July. After heaping praise on the two bids throughout visits the the United States and France in April the Future Host Commission – the IOC’s multifaceted team tasked with reporting on the viability of the proposals – will certainly deliver glowing reports to Executives on day one of the three day meeting.

The Executive Board will then immediately make the go, no-go decision for each candidate and report the results during a press conference scheduled for Wednesday evening in Switzerland.

If the bids are approved the Commission’s report and the final bid submissions will be published on the IOC’s website for its members, and the public, to review.

Officially the Future Host Commission is designed to work independently but IOC president Thomas Bach and his Executives carry influence and have likely steered the bid assessment team in a direction that they already favor, making this week’s decision merely a formality.

The same influence is held over the more than 100 members who will be expected to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on each bid in elections scheduled for July 24 at the Palais des Congrès in Paris just two days before the opening of the Summer Games. The ballots will take place on the final day of the IOC’s 142nd Session when voting will immediately follow final presentations and question and answer periods from the the two hopeful hosts.

Once elected, the parties will immediately sign host contracts at a ceremony on site.

The Executive Board will meet once again before the expected elections, from July 20-22 in Paris just one day ahead of the Session, but the decisions cannot wait until that meeting as members are expected to review the reports in preparation for the final vote. The bids committees and their staff and stakeholders will also need to travel to Paris to take part in the proceedings.

At home, bidders will have organized events to celebrate that final envelope tearing and announcement.

Salt Lake City officials requested that the IOC hold the election on the the final day of the Session which lands on a major statewide holiday, Pioneer Day. The IOC complied and the final announcement will be made in the very early morning hours in Utah ahead of a day that traditionally features an annual parade and festivities.

In France, Olympic fans will already be in celebration mode, preparing to welcome the opening of the Summer Games for the first time in 100 years.

In the only previous host election held as part of the IOC’s current site selection process that was initiated in 2019, unopposed Brisbane received 72 ‘yes’ votes against 5 ‘no’ votes leading to the resounding ratification of Australia’s third Olympic Games in 2032.

The last time two cities were up for election at the same Session occurred in 2017 when this year’s Paris Games and the Los Angeles 2028 edition struck a tripartite agreement with the IOC after both were seeking to host in 2024. The deal was the subject of a ratification vote and members then approved both bids unanimously with a single show of hands.

The elections in July will happen separately and will most likely occur with secret electronic ballots, the method the IOC uses to vote on most matters. But according to the Olympic Charter, no host can be elected with a vote inside its own national borders.

That should be problematic with the French Alps – a bid comprised of ice venues in Nice and snow venues scattered further north – intended to be elected in the capital.

Last November IOC Corporate Communications Director Christian Klaue dismissed any concerns and wrote on X (formerly Twitter) “As with the new approach to electing hosts and only one Preferred Host in the Targeted Dialogue, there is no risk of any unfair advantage or campaigning around a host election.”

It’s not an “unfair advantage” only if the IOC is comfortable voting against its Summer Games host nation just two days before the big opening.

If French Alps and Salt Lake City get their likely nod from the IOC Executives Wednesday, they’re virtually assured to be signatories on those host contracts in July.

There is no turning back.

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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