It will be several months before the next destination of the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is announced, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach told reporters Thursday as the Gangwon 2024 edition was about to close.
“There will be no flag handover ceremony tonight [at the closing ceremony] because we will decide about the next host at a later stage,” Bach said during a press conference in the South Korean province.
“You can expect an announcement either later this year or at the latest early next year where the next Winter Youth Olympic Games will happen.
“Our commission which is responsible for this needs a little bit more time to evaluate the different projects and then come to a conclusion which would be the most appropriate destination for 2028.”
The fourth Winter edition of the YOG wrapped up Thursday after 14 days of competition where the United States led with 21 total medals and Italy tallied the most gold with 11.
There are currently eight members of the IOC’s Future Host Commission for the Winter Games, including the Youth edition, that is led by Austrian Karl Stoss. In December the Commission named preferred hosts for both the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games (French Alps and Salt Lake City) and gave Switzerland a priority status for 2038 and the team will now be conducting due diligence ahead a member vote scheduled for July in Paris. Closer attention to the Youth edition will likely follow.
Under reformed bidding rules adopted by the IOC in 2019, regions interested in hosting an edition of the Olympic Games can enter a confidential and non-binding ongoing dialogue with the IOC without any formal announcements required by either party. It is currently unclear how many regions might be in discussions about the 2028 Winter YOG, but IOC officials said last February that several were interested.
Lombardy and Trentino in Italy are the only interested parties confirmed by the IOC after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced last year that they were conducting a feasibility study on the potential project. The plan is to leverage the legacy of the scheduled Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games that will be staged in the same region.
The Milan-Cortina organizing committee and the IOC are currently in contentious discussions over the planned construction of a sliding track for the Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The IOC believes there is not enough time and an insufficient legacy need for the new venue but Italian officials are emphasizing their desire for a viable home track and don’t want to invest in an existing facility across the border.
A new track could be part of the Italian proposal for a Winter YOG.
Last September the National Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced it was preparing plans to bid for the Youth Olympics without naming a specific edition. Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984 when part of former Yugoslavia. As capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city staged the European Youth Olympics Festival (EYOF) in 2019.
There is no set timetable for the awarding of Olympic editions, the IOC Executive Board is guided by the Future Host Commissions and makes decisions and announcements when they are strategic.