2030 Olympics

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Sapporo becomes first official 2030 Olympic bid

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Sapporo is the first official bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics after Japan’s Olympic Committee approved it in a Wednesday vote, according to Japanese media.

Sapporo, Salt Lake City and Barcelona were named as interested potential 2030 bidders by the International Olympic Committee three weeks ago.

Host cities have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline.

Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Games and will host this summer’s Olympic marathons and race walks, which were moved 500 miles north of Tokyo due to heat concerns.

Sapporo took part in the dialogue stage for the 2026 bid race before withdrawing in 2018 to focus on 2030. Italy’s Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo were awarded the 2026 Winter Games over Sweden’s Stockholm-Are in an IOC members vote on June 24.

IOC president Thomas Bach was asked about Sapporo’s interest in 2030 on Jan. 10 and said there’s no doubt it could organize an “excellent” Winter Games. IOC member Octavian Morariu said Sapporo would use 92 percent existing venues.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in December 2018 that if it bids for the 2030 Winter Games, it will be with Salt Lake City, but it hasn’t announced an official bid. The Utah capital was the last U.S. host for the Winter Olympics in 2002. The U.S. hasn’t put forth a formal Winter Games bid since.

The IOC labeled the third interested party as “Pyrenees-Barcelona.” Morariu said sliding sports and ski jumping would be held outside Spain, as the nation does not have existing venues for those sports. Morariu also said Spain’s Olympic Committee still has to finalize its wish to enter into dialogue with the IOC.

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Salt Lake City among 3 cities interested in Winter Olympic bids

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Salt Lake City, Sapporo (Japan) and Barcelona are interested in potential Winter Olympic bids for 2030, 2034 or 2038.

IOC member Octavian Morariu, chair of the IOC Future Host Commission for Winter Games, said the IOC has been in dialogue with “a number of interested parties” for the last two years and specifically named those three cities.

All cities previously expressed various levels of interest in bidding, either for 2026 (which was awarded to Italy’s Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo over Sweden’s Stockholm-Are on June 24) or for 2030. Olympic host cities have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years beforehand, though that timeline can be shortened under recent reforms.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in December 2018 that if it bids for the 2030 Winter Games, it will be with Salt Lake City. The Utah capital was the last U.S. host for the Winter Olympics in 2002. The U.S. hasn’t put forth a formal Winter Games bid since. Morariu said Salt Lake City would use 100 percent existing venues.

Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Games, took part in the dialogue stage for the 2026 bid race before withdrawing in 2018 to focus on 2030. IOC president Thomas Bach was asked about Sapporo’s interest in 2030 on Thursday and said there’s no doubt it could organize an “excellent” Winter Games. Morariu said Sapporo, which will hold the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks, would use 92 percent existing venues.

The IOC labeled the third interested party as “Pyrenees-Barcelona.” Morariu said sliding sports and ski jumping would be held outside Spain, as the nation does not have existing venues for those sports. Morariu also said Spain’s Olympic Committee still has to finalize its wish to enter into dialogue with the IOC.

Lillehammer, Norway, the 1994 Winter Olympic host, was reportedly planning a 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympic bid as recently as 2018, but was not mentioned by Morariu.

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Salt Lake City is potential U.S. bid for 2030 Winter Olympics

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If the U.S. bids for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, it will be with Salt Lake City, the first time the country would bid for the Winter Games since the Utah capital hosted in 2002.

“The USOC board of directors has expressed interest in bidding for future Winter Games but has not determined when a formal bid may occur,” the USOC said in a statement Friday. “This selection affords the USOC and Salt Lake City the opportunity to move forward with the International Olympic Committee’s ongoing dialogue phase.”

Salt Lake City was chosen over Denver — expected given its stronger local venue plan. Denver also has the stigma of being awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics and handing them back to the IOC two years later. A third candidate, the Reno-Tahoe region, withdrew from the race last month.

International Olympic Committee members are expected to vote on the 2030 host city in 2023. There are no formal confirmed bids. Nor is there a bid process with the Games so far away.

“We have not yet made a determination about that bid and the timing of that bid,” USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said. “The work that we’ll do is continue to refine the possibility, refine the plan for a potential bid, but at this point there is no determination nor is there an active process of bidding that will take place. In some regards, we have the luxury of some time.”

Lillehammer, Norway, the 1994 Winter Olympic host, was reportedly planning a 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympic bid in March, but there has been no recent news on its progress. Most Olympic bids are finalized one to two years in advance of the IOC vote.

The 2026 Winter Olympic bid race is closed with two finalists — Stockholm, Sweden, and a joint Italian bid between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Milan. IOC members will vote in June. That means North America will go at least 20 years between hosting the Winter Olympics, the continent’s largest gap in 50 years.

The U.S. is already co-hosting the 2026 World Cup in various cities and holding the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

A Salt Lake City bid could reuse many facilities from the 2002 Winter Games: the Utah Jazz arena hosted figure skating and short track speed skating, the University of Utah’s football stadium held Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Utah Olympic Oval in nearby Kearns had long-track speed skating and skiing and snowboarding events were in Park City, a 45-minute drive east of the capital.

The 2002 Olympics are best remembered for the gold-medal performances of figure skater Sarah Hughes, the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams and short track speed skater Apolo Ohno.

The legacy also includes a figure skating scandal that resulted in a second gold medal awarded to Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier and an overhaul of the sport’s judging system. Plus, a bribery scandal involving benefits to IOC members who voted in 1995 to award the Games to Salt Lake City.

The city was also a bid finalist in 1972 and 1998.

“We are truly humbled to be the choice to represent the United States in a bid for a future Olympic Games,” Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski said in a press release. “This decision affirms Salt Lake City as the capital of winter sports in America, and the tremendous amount of work we have done to continue our Olympic legacy for future generations.”

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