Innsbruck, Austria and Kuopio, Finland have been selected by International Olympic Committee Youth Olympic Games Evaluation Commission to compete for host city rights to the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games. Not making the cut were Harbin, China and Lillehammer, Norway.
The evaluation report closely examined the risks associated with organizing these first Winter Games in a short timeframe – only three years ahead of the event. Last year Singapore was selected to host the first Summer edition of the Games.
Innsbruck’s bid received top accolades as the IOC evaluation suggested that “the city of Innsbruck presents the least risk to the IOC”, while the same report said that Kuopio presents “some risks”. Some of Kuopio’s risks were associated with allocated budgets.
The IOC was concerned about financial risks and lack of national government guarantees from Lillehammer that might not be overcome; and “a number of risks” that are associated with Harbin’s proposal due to lack of information provided by the bid committee.
Innsbruck hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1964 and again in 1976 in short notice after Denver rejected their winning bid. Kuopio is a small city with a large University and many active young people – a model that may exemplify what the IOC is looking for in these Games.
IOC members – except those from Austria and Finland – will now make their selection by postal vote with the final decision of the winner being announced by IOC president Jacques Rogge on December 12. The bid process began in March.