Stockholm Are 2026
Stockholm-Are 2026

Stockholm–Åre 2026 Winter Olympic bid fast facts

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A look at the Stockholm–Åre 2026 Winter Olympic bid ahead of the IOC’s vote on Monday to choose the host city …

By the stats, Sweden is a very deserving Winter Olympic host candidate. It owns the most Winter Games gold medals (61, according to Olympic historians) of any nation yet to host a Winter Olympics and the second-most total medals of nations yet to host (165; Finland has 173.)

It held Summer Games competition twice, in 1912 as the outright host and in 1956 (equestrian events only). The latter marked the first time an Olympic sport was held wholly outside the host nation. Quarantine laws in Australia forced equestrian to be moved (to Stockholm, in this case).

This Swedish bid calls for a Winter Olympics to be shared between two nations for the first time. Sliding sports would be in Sigulda, Latvia, the nearest track for bobsled, skeleton and luge. The construction of sliding tracks is among the costliest venues for any Winter Games, leading the Swedish bid to look elsewhere.

Four years ago, it was reported that the PyeongChang Olympic sliding events could be held at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games venue rather than completing a new track in South Korea, but that ultimately did not happen.

MORE: How to watch 2026 Winter Olympic host vote

Stockholm was among four cities that dropped 2022 Olympic bids for various reasons (Sweden’s was a lack of political and financial support). The bid was revived for 2026, declared dead by Swedish politicians in April 2018, but kept alive by the Swedish Olympic Committee. In January, the bid was renamed to add the ski resort of Åre, which just hosted the world Alpine skiing championships.

Sweden hopes to reverse its Winter Olympic bidding luck. It lost six straight elections — 1984 (Göteborg), 1988 (Falun), 1992 (Falun), 1994 (Östersund), 1998 (Östersund) and 2002 (Östersund). Stockholm would join Beijing as the only cities to host Summer and Winter Games.

Its contingent in Lausanne for the bid presentation includes Olympic gold medalists Peter Forsberg (hockey) and Frida Hansdotter (Alpine skiing).

More on the Stockholm-Åre bid:

Proposed Dates: Feb. 6-22 (Olympics), March 6-15 (Paralympics)

Venues
Stockholm
— hockey, curling, speed skating, figure skating, short track, cross-country skiing, biathlon, Alpine team event, big air skiing, aerials
*Big air and aerials are slated for Stockholm’s 1912 Olympic Stadium
Åre (380 miles northwest of Stockholm) — Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding
Sigulda, Latvia (350 miles southeast of Stockholm, across the Baltic Sea) — bobsled, luge, skeleton
Falun (130 miles northwest of Stockholm) — Nordic combined, ski jumping

Ceremonies
Opening Ceremony — Stockholm’s Friends Arena (retractable roof)
Closing Ceremony — multiple locations across the four venue clusters

Slogan
“Made in Sweden”

IOC Evaluation Group Report
“A modern global capital with a historic city center, Stockholm proposes venues in the heart of the city that would elevate and energize the Games experience. Sweden has the hosting experience, love for winter sports and established World Cup venues necessary for delivering the Games. In line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm, Stockholm has developed a Games concept that addresses the city’s future needs and aims to improve the lives of all its citizens.”

MORE: IOC proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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Blake Leeper, Olympic hopeful double amputee, has prosthetics ruled ineligible

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Blake Leeper, a double amputee who finished fifth in the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championships 400m, had his prosthetic legs ruled ineligible for major international able-bodied competition such as the Olympics.

World Athletics made the ruling as part of a months-long case that will go on. Leeper confirmed Thursday morning a Washington Post report that he is appealing.

A World Athletics review group “concluded that Mr. Leeper had not established that his prostheses do not provide him with an overall competitive advantage,” according to a World Athletics statement. “Under the current rule [introduced in 2015], the burden of proof lies with the athlete to show that prostheses do not provide them with an overall competitive advantage.”

Leeper, a 2012 Paralympic medalist, sprints fast enough to be a contender for the U.S. Olympic team, should he be deemed eligible. A fifth-place finisher in the 400m at nationals usually makes an Olympic or world team for the 4x400m relay.

But when Leeper recorded that finish in Des Moines last summer, he was running under conditional allowance while his World Athletics case was ongoing. He was not ultimately selected to race at worlds last fall.

World Athletics said then that his nationals results would not be ratified because he had not proven that his legs did not provide “an overall competitive advantage over an athlete not using such aid.”

Leeper’s case is reminiscent of South African Oscar Pistorius.

Pistorius won a legal battle to race on his prosthetics at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics in the 400m with a personal best of 45.07. He was eliminated in the semifinals at both meets.

Leeper lowered his personal best to 44.38 seconds at nationals, a time that would have easily made the 2016 Olympic team.

“They keep changing the rules,” Leeper, who has been coached by, among others, Super Bowl champion wide receiver Willie Gault, said last summer. “For somebody to try to dictate and tell me how tall I should be or whatever I should be running on I think is just really unfair.”

In 2018, the International Paralympic Committee said Leeper was running on invalid blades for its record purposes because he had yet to be classified under a new maximum allowable standing height (MASH) formula.

Michael Norman, the world’s fastest 400m sprinter last year, said he had no issue racing with Leeper. But others in the past, when Pistorius became the first double amputee to race at worlds and the Olympics, said they wouldn’t have been so sure had Pistorius been running the kind of times that Leeper posted in recent years.

“Walk a mile in my legs,” Leeper said of those who believe he has a competitive advantage. “Understand the things that I go through as a double-leg amputee. There’s some days my legs are swollen, they’re sore, they’re bleeding, they’re bruised. I can’t even have the strength to put ’em on to walk to the bathroom.

“Anybody that faces a disability, to actually look them in the face and say they have an advantage is just crazy to me. I guarantee if that’s the case, you’ll see a lot more people amputating their legs and coming and trying to qualify for the U.S. trials.”

Leeper was born without lower legs and has used prosthetics since he was a toddler. He earned 200m bronze and 400m silver (behind Pistorius) in his class at the 2012 London Paralympics, then served a cocaine ban.

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MORE: Six months to Paralympics: Ten athletes to watch

Chad le Clos seeks Sun Yang’s Olympic gold medal for doping case

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NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Chad le Clos believes he has a claim on Sun Yang’s gold medal from the Rio Olympics, with a verdict imminent on the Chinese swimmer’s latest doping case.

“He should be banned. It’s as simple as that,” Le Clos said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. “Anyone who tests positive should be banned. I should get my gold medal back from Rio.

“Not for the moment. I lost that. I don’t really care about that,” Le Clos added on Wednesday. “It’s just for my record. If I break my leg and I can’t swim again I want my record to say, ‘Two individual golds, two individual silvers.’ Because that’s what it should be.”

Le Clos’ Olympic record currently contains one gold medal and three silvers — including a second-place finish to Sun in the Rio Olympic 200m free

Odds are, though, that Sun won’t lose any Olympic titles when the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues its ruling over his alleged refusal to provide blood and urine in September 2018 in a visit by sample collectors to his home in China. During the late-night confrontation, a security guard used a hammer to smash a container holding Sun’s blood as the swimmer lit the scene with his mobile phone.

The World Anti-Doping Agency appealed after swimming federation FINA merely warned Sun and cited doubts about credentials shown by three sample collection officials.

A three-time Olympic champion, Sun could be banished from the sport for up to eight years but any ban likely won’t be backdated before September 2018 — meaning all of his Olympic medals seem safe.

But there’s also the fact that international swimming authorities worked to protect Sun from being banned, according to a Swiss supreme court document.

FINA has faced criticisms in the past for favoring Sun during his career. It did not announce Sun’s three-month ban for doping imposed by Chinese authorities until after it ended in 2014.

“I just hope the system and whatever we have is really accurate,” said Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú, who won three golds in Rio. “I just hope the decisions they are making is fair and is for the sport and not for other reasons.”

The medals that Sun risks losing most are the two golds that he won at last year’s world championships in the 200m and 400m frees. At the event in Gwangju, South Korea, fellow medalists Mack Horton of Australia and Duncan Scott of Britain refused to stand with him on the podium.

Sun has denied any wrongdoing. Any ban imposed in the coming days would likely prevent him from competing at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I have nothing against anybody. It’s not personal,” Le Clos said. “It’s just how the world should be. If you cheat or if you do something wrong, like if you false start, you get disqualified. It’s simple as that.”

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