Sapporo, one of seven 2026 Winter Olympic bids, told the Japanese Olympic Committee it prefers to bid for the 2030 Winter Games instead, according to Japanese media.
Officials from Sapporo and the Japanese Olympic Committee are expected to hold talks soon, according to Jiji Press.
If Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, remains in the 2026 race after the IOC invites cities to the official candidate phase in October, it faces one clear obstacle, reportedly indicated by Sapporo mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto: The 2018 Winter Olympics were in PyeongChang and the 2022 Winter Games will be in Beijing.
IOC president Thomas Bach said he hopes the Winter Olympics can return to a more traditional location in 2026, which USOC chairman Larry Probst called “code for Europe or North America.”
2030 might not be much easier. The U.S. and Norway could both put forth strong bids.
Sapporo, which has been talked about as a potential 2026 bid city for more than three years, hosted the Asian Winter Games in 2017, as well as in 1986 and 1990.
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