2026 Olympics

AP

Three U.S. cities talking to IOC about Winter Olympic bid

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Denver, Reno-Tahoe and Salt Lake City officials are discussing potential Winter Olympic bids with the International Olympic Committee before the March 31 declaration deadline for 2026, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said Friday.

USOC leaders repeated they hope to bid for either the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games (preferably 2030) and that those are the three interested cities.

“We have encouraged the three cities from the U.S. that are interested in potentially hosting — Reno-Tahoe, Salt Lake City and Denver — to be in a dialogue with the IOC, and that is happening,” Blackmun said, adding that the USOC is “leaning” toward bidding for 2030 rather than 2026. “So, we’re very excited about the prospects of hosting, but nothing tangible to report in the way of timing.”

The IOC has not ruled out accepting multiple bids from the same country, but the USOC has not discussed that option.

“That is not a thought at this point,” Blackmun said. “We have not discussed that, although the IOC has been pretty clear that it’s very open-minded about having multiple cities host. I think it’s a little bit different thing to have multiple cities from one country competing to host.”

The USOC would rather bid for 2030 than 2026 to avoid challenges with the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.

A USOC leader said in October that the U.S. wants to be part of the discussion if the IOC wants to award the 2026 and 2030 Olympics in one vote like it did for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. In that case, the USOC may be interested in entering the next round of bidding.

If not, then a wait for the 2030 bidding in another four years is the preferred option.

Traditionally, host cities are determined after a candidate process by an IOC members vote seven years before the Games.

However, the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games were awarded at the same time to Paris and Los Angeles in September.

The 2018 and 2022 Winter Games are both in East Asia. The last time the U.S. hosted the Winter Olympics was in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

“I think [IOC president] Thomas Bach has publicly stated that he would like to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said in September. “So, to me, that’s code for Europe or North America. … We’ll have to monitor that, see what the situation looks like and then develop our strategy for whether we’re going to bid for the next Winter Games or longer than that.”

The 2026 Olympics have one confirmed bid so far from Sion, Switzerland, though its future may hinge on a public vote. Sapporo, Japan, and Calgary have also expressed interest.

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Another rival to potential 2026 U.S. Winter Olympic bid emerges

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Sapporo is reportedly expected to bid for the 2026 Winter Games now that it has approval from the Japan Olympic Committee.

The Japan committee’s vice president said that Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, is expected to announce its bid by the end of March deadline, according to Kyodo News.

The 2026 Olympics have one confirmed bid so far from Sion, Switzerland, though its future may hinge on a public vote. IOC members are expected to vote to choose the 2026 host city in 2019.

The U.S. Olympic Committee wants to bid for the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games, preferably 2030. Salt Lake City, the last U.S. Winter Olympic host city in 2002, Denver and Reno-Tahoe are possible U.S. bid cities.

The next two Winter Olympics in 2018 and 2022 will be in East Asia in PyeongChang, South Korea, and Beijing.

Japan is also hosting the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

“I think [IOC president] Thomas Bach has publicly stated that he would like to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said in September. “So, to me, that’s code for Europe or North America. … We’ll have to monitor that, see what the situation looks like and then develop our strategy for whether we’re going to bid for the next Winter Games or longer than that.”

Sapporo, which has been talked about as a potential 2026 bid city for more than three years, hosted the Asian Winter Games this year, as well as in 1986 and 1990.

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Swiss government backs 2026 Winter Olympic bid

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Switzerland’s federal government says it would contribute $1 billion toward Sion hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The Swiss federal council voted to support the proposed candidature, which still requires approval from expected public votes.

Federal councilor Guy Parmelin, who heads the department for sports, says the project would be withdrawn if the votes are lost.

Swiss support comes three days after voters in Austria rejected a proposed 2026 bid by two-time host Innsbruck.

Sion’s plan involves hosting events in towns and cantons (states) across Switzerland which could insist on a referendum.

The federal council says it could contribute $842 million toward the organizing budget.

The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to pick the 2026 host in 2019.

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