Sweden positions itself against sparse competition

The leaders of the Swedish Olympic movement are considering submitting a bid for the 2030 Winter Games. An edition without competition for the moment. In the United States, Salt Lake City, the only one still officially in the race, now expresses a preference for 2034. Japanese Olympism.

“There is an opening”, noted the president of the Swedish Olympic committee, Anders Larsson, during a press conference, announcing a “preliminary study” by the summer on a possible Swedish candidacy. “Hopefully it will lead to a bid, and hopefully that will lead to hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sweden,” he added.

Decision expected in 2024

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last December postponed its decision on the allocation of the 2030 host city, initially planned for this year and now expected in 2024. The organization with the five rings is also considering a double allocation for 2030 and 2034 in order to establish “a climate of stability”, while climate change further aggravates the shortage of candidates for its winter high mass.

“It’s a nagging problem: what will become of the Winter Olympics if there is no more snow?”, notes Jean-Loup Chappelet, specialist in Olympism at the University of Lausanne. Especially since their organization also requires three pieces of equipment that are as expensive as they are difficult to reuse: “a covered speed skating ring, a ski jumping hill and a bobsleigh run”.

Multiple failures

Beijing, host city for the last edition of 2022, had only Almaty (Kazakhstan) as its only rival. Salt Lake City, a candidate known for several years and already host in 2002, remains in the running for 2030 so far, but prefers the 2034 edition to avoid proximity to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Other possible applications had already been withdrawn recently, such as that of Vancouver in Canada or a project bringing together Barcelona and Zaragoza in Spain. After a black series of Olympic disappointments, is Sweden finally holding its chance? The IOC itself looks favorably on the bid, according to Mr. Larsson, who referred to “an informal exchange with the start of a conversation”.

However, the Swedish government has shown very cautious support for the initiative. “Many of us love the Olympics, but no one wants to make a hasty decision,” Conservative Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told the TT news agency. The head of finance for the municipality of Stockholm, Karin Wanngård, has already indicated that financial guarantees from the state would be essential. The Swedish capital has already hosted the Summer Olympics in 1912, but Sweden has, paradoxically enough, never organized the Winter Games.

Still snowy winters

The Nordic country, a great fan of winter sports (cross-country skiing, hockey…) and whose northern half is still guaranteed snowy winters, had already been a candidate for the 1984, 1988, 1992 Winter Games, 1994, 1998 and 2002, without success. Four years ago, Milan was preferred to the bid associating Stockholm with the winter sports resort of Åre in the north-west of the country, host of the 2019 Alpine Ski Worlds.

The Swedish candidacy had suffered from mixed support in public opinion and problems with the municipality of Stockholm. For 2030, the Swedish committee has not yet decided with certainty on the cities that could be selected, even if the IOC has indicated that it appreciated the “concept” of the 2026 ticket. The last Olympic Games in Scandinavia date back to those of Lillehammer in 1994 in Norway, considered by many experts as the most successful in history, by their dream setting as by the jubilant crowds along the tracks.

Sweden can also offer the assurance of an established democracy, against a backdrop of recurring controversies over major sporting events organized by authoritarian or hereditary regimes. “Sweden stands for democracy and values ​​sport and human rights,” Asa Llinares Norlin, a member of the country’s Olympic committee, told AFP.

Source: Europe1

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