The Olympics: 2026 Winter games bidding crisis
By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
According to media reports, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is facing a crisis after Calgary in Canada withdrew from the bidders for the 2026 Winter Games, leaving two remaining potential host cities, Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo and Stockholm!
In a referendum held on 13 November 2018, the people of Calgary voted by a majority of 56% against bidding for the 2026 Winter Games. It seems that they were not happy about the £3 billion price tag, which, from past practice, may well balloon; the 30 years it took for the City of Montreal to finally pay off its Olympic debt incurred from hosting the Winter Games in 1976; and the fallacy of the ‘Olympic legacy’ with many abandoned and redundant Olympic sites and facilities around the world.
The staggering sum of US$51 billion spent by Russia on the 2014 Sochi Winter Games has also been a factor in deterring Calgary and three of the other would-be bidders for 2026, Graz, Austria, Sapporo, Japan, and Sion, Switzerland, despite the IOC reforms introduced by the IOC President, Dr Thomas Bach, in the Olympic Agenda 2020, designed to make the bidding process more transparent and cheaper, as well as the Games themselves!
It was announced, on 2 July 2018, that the IOC would contribute US$925 million towards the costs of organising and holding the 2026 Games.
It appears that Stockholm may not continue with its proposed bid, also, like Calgary, on financial grounds, following the recent election of a new City Government, which is categorically opposed to using tax payers’ money to fund the holding of the 2026 Games.
Furthermore, the Italian bid is not safe either on financial grounds, in view of the present state of the Italian economy.
The prospects, therefore, for the 2026 Winter Games look rather bleak indeed and time is running out as the IOC are due to award the Games in September next year!
So, one may reasonably ask, are the iconic Olympic Rings losing their shine and appeal?