Sion 2026

Getty Images

Switzerland 2026 Olympic bid rejected by public vote

2 Comments

SION, Switzerland (AP) — Another Olympic hosting bid in Switzerland was sunk Sunday by a public vote against expected high costs.

A total of 53.98 percent of voters in the Swiss region of Valais refused to pledge financial support for a 2026 Winter Games hosting bid centered on the town of Sion.

“There is no plan B,” Sion Mayor Philippe Varone said Sunday, declaring the bid campaign over.

It is the third time in five years that a bid campaign supported by the Swiss national Olympic body was rejected by the people.

In 2013, voters in the upscale ski resorts of St. Moritz and Davos, plus their home canton (state), rejected a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Last year, the same Graubuenden region rejected a renewed campaign for 2026.

Sunday’s vote is another rejection by European voters for the International Olympic Committee, and one that hit closer to home.

Sion called for medal events to be scattered across Switzerland, including in the IOC’s home city of Lausanne in the neighboring canton of Vaud.

The IOC on Sunday blamed misinformation for the latest loss.

“From the polls, we understand that outdated information on the cost of the Games was the main concern for those voting against the funding,” the Olympic body said.

Sion offered what the bidders termed a sustainable Olympics relying on already existing ice venues and ski courses. Voters rejected assurances from the IOC and bid supporters that expensive new construction would not be needed.

The IOC has created a more flexible bidding process for the 2026 Olympics, and still has six possible bids in contention: Turin and Milan in Italy; Graz in Austria; Stockholm; Turkey’s Erzurum; Calgary, Canada; and Sapporo, Japan.

IOC members will make their decision in September 2019.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: A look at 2026 Olympic bid cities

Swiss government backs 2026 Winter Olympic bid

Switzerland
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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Federal councilor Guy Parmelin, who heads the department for sports, says the project would be withdrawn if the votes are lost.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

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Salt Lake City takes step toward Olympic bid

2026 Winter Olympics have first official bid city

Getty Images
2 Comments

The first 2026 Winter Olympic bid comes from Sion, Switzerland.

The southwestern Switzerland town’s candidature was confirmed by the Swiss Parliament of Sport on Tuesday. The Swiss Olympic Committee heralds it as “the Games in the heart of Switzerland.”

Sion, with a population listed around 30,000, could be the smallest Olympic host city since Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994. The Sion bid includes some events potentially being held in Bern, Lausanne and St. Moritz. More information is here (French, German).

“This clear message from Swiss sport is very important to us,” Swiss Olympic president Juerg Stahl said in a press release after a unanimous vote of approval. “It shows that the foundations of the Sion 2026 project are solid. It is also important to us as we are entering the next stage of the project, which is to gather federal support.”

Switzerland has hosted the Olympics twice, both Winter Games in St. Moritz (1928 and 1948).

Sion previously was a finalist to host the 1976, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, finishing runner-up in voting every time.

Switzerland first announced it was pursuing a bid last March. A possible bid from St. Moritz and Davos was rejected by voters in February.

Cities in Austria, Canada, Japan and Sweden have also discussed potential 2026 bids, as has Lillehammer. The U.S. is not expected to bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

The next two Winter Olympics will be in East Asia in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018 and Beijing in 2022, giving a European or North American city a greater opening to be the 2026 host.

The 2026 Olympic host city is expected to be chosen from an International Olympic Committee members vote in 2019.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2026 Olympic bidding news