IOC: You can see the effect of Agenda 2020 on Stockholm-Are and Milan-Cortina bids
Stockholm and Are in Sweden and Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy today both, as expected, met a deadline to submit their candidature files or ‘bid books’ to host the 2026 winter Olympic Games, with the International Olympic Committee claiming that the influence of its Agenda 2020 reform plan can be clearly seen in each bid.
The bid books are the first to be received by the IOC since Agenda 2020, and its companion cost-saving programme The New Norm, were approved by the IOC Session in February 2018.
Battling against a perception that hosting the Olympic Games inevitably leads to overspending, the IOC said in a statement today: “On average, the candidate cities 2026 will use 80 per cent existing or temporary venues, compared to 60 per cent among the candidates for the Olympic Winter Games 2018 and 2022. In addition, the initial games operating costs projected by the cities are on average 20 per cent (approximately $400 million) lower than those in the two previous candidature processes.”
Seven cities were initially in the race to host the games, but Calgary in Canada, Sion in Switzerland and Graz in Austria all dropped out thanks to a lack of popular and/or political support, while Sapporo in Japan blamed the devastation caused by a recent earthquake for switching its attention to the 2030 edition instead. Erzurum in Turkey was eliminated by the IOC because it was deemed to have too little experience of hosting winter sports and needed too much investment on venues.
The IOC statement said: “In their documentation, the cities have shared their strong visions for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2026, detailing how they would deliver the event in a sustainable manner, bringing long-term tangible benefits to residents, locally, regionally and nationally. The names of the candidatures reflect the projects and their maximum use of existing, traditional winter sports venues. Each of the candidatures has also outlined its plans for ensuring unique games-time experiences for athletes, spectators and media.”
Neither Stockholm-Are nor Milan-Cortina are understood to have provided formal central government guarantees, of the kind usually required by the IOC, but Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director for the Olympic Games, told reporters in Lausanne this week that the IOC would grant “leeway” for the bids to provide guarantees after today’s deadline.
Octavian Morariu (pictured), chair of the IOC’s evaluation commission for the games, said: “With these two traditional sports countries as candidates, we see the very positive impact of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms. Both countries have vast experience in organising World Cups and World Championships, with existing infrastructure and experienced operators. This has allowed the candidates to reduce the investment needed and increase the sustainability of their projects.”
The commission will make formal evaluation visits to Stockholm-Are on 12 to 16 March and to Milan-Cortina on 2 to 6 April. The commission’s report will be made public ahead of the host city election, which will take place in June this year during the IOC session in Lausanne.
The 2022 winter Olympics will be held in Beijing.
For a Sportcal Insight opinion column on the cost and benefits of staging the Olympics, click here.