Earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee unveiled a list of 118 reforms to make hosting the Olympic Games more affordable. The early returns are seven countries interested in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The allure of Olympic hosting duties had rapidly gone out of vogue over the past few cycles. In the bidding for the 2024 Games, the list of interested parties shrank to just two as Rome, Hamburg, Budapest and Boston all withdrew after widespread lack of support at the local level. Skyrocketing costs have made the Olympics nearly impossible for a city to host without incurring major debt without corresponding economic growth and/or watching historic facilities degrade and rot into lost artifacts.
With only two cities left interested in the 2024 Olympics, the IOC awarded Paris those hosting duties and also promised 2028 to Los Angeles, setting up hosts for the next decade before more bids could be torpedoed by the potential host cities themselves.
In February, the IOC announced “The New Norm,” list of reforms aiming to make Olympic hosting duties more affordable. The IOC is touting that as the catalyst for a group of seven National Olympic Committees it announced today as officially interested in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Those nations and cities are as follows:
- Austrian Olympic Committee (Graz)
- Canadian Olympic Committee (Calgary)
- Italian Olympic Committee (Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Turin)
- Japanese Olympic Committee (Sapporo)
- Swedish Olympic Committee (Stockholm)
- Swiss Olympic Association (Sion)
- Turkish Olympic Committee (Erzurum)
The IOC also hinted that others were “already considering 2030 and beyond, including the United States Olympic Committee.”
The process now continues into what the IOC terms the “dialogue stage,” in which the interested National Olympic Committees communicate with the IOC to develop their plans for hosting the Games. The deadline for joining the dialogue stage was March 31. The Dialogue stage will continue into the fall, when the IOC will select a number of the interested cities to move on into the “candidature stage.” From there, cities will put together their best bids for presentation at the IOC Session in Milan in September of 2019. That’s where the IOC will select its 2026 Winter Olympic host.