Austria withdrew its 2026 Winter Olympic bid — centered on Graz, its second-largest city — citing a lack of political backing.
Austria’s Olympic Committee informed the International Olympic Committee on Friday it ended the bid, according to a press release.
Graz’s withdrawal leaves five countries in the running for the 2026 Winter Games, due to be awarded by IOC members vote next year — Canada (Calgary), Italy (Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Torino), Japan (Sapporo), Sweden (Stockholm) and Turkey (Erzurum). One or more of those nations’ bids could hinge on public votes, too.
Switzerland also entered the bid race before the spring deadline, but its Sion bid was rejected by public vote last month.
Austria, fourth all time in Winter Olympic medals, hosted the Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1964 and 1976. It lost in Olympic bidding for 2002 (Graz), 2006 (Klagenfurt), 2010 (Salzburg) and 2014 (Salzburg).
A planned Innsbruck bid for the 2026 Winter Games was dropped in October after defeat in a public vote.
Graz shares a province with Schladming, host of the 1982 and 2013 World Alpine Skiing Championships.
IOC president Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Winter Olympics can return to a more traditional location after PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022, which USOC chairman Larry Probst called “code for Europe or North America.”
The U.S. prefers is expected to bid for the 2030 Olympics — with one of Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe.
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