Swiss public decry excess Winter Games costs



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Winter Olympics 2023 joint bid Image: valais.ch

A joint bid between Valais in Switzerland and Chamonix in France and resorts in Northern Italy could be launched to host the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

‘inside the games’ stated that Olympic officials in Switzerland are reluctant to back the campaign after the public voted in a referendum not to support a bid due to the excessive costs involved.

The 2030 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXVI Olympic Winter Games, is an upcoming international multisport event. It will be held from February 8th, 2030 to February 24th, 2030. The Host City was initially set to be elected at the 140th IOC Session in Mumbai (India) in 2023, but IOC officials declared in December 2022 that they were no longer working toward electing a host at that time.

‘inside the games’ further stated that a bid is being prepared centered on Espace Mont-Blanc, a cross-border initiative in which several Alpine regions, including Valais, Chamonix and the Aosta Valley in Italy, pledge to work together on economic and ecological projects.

The bid process for the 2030 Games has been thrown into chaos after Japanese City Sapporo, the overwhelming favorite to be awarded the event, “paused” its bid in December 2022 following decline in public support after a growing bribery scandal involving Tokyo 2020.

With a bid from Vancouver (Canada) lacking the support of either the Provincial or State Government, it seemed to leave Salt Lake City, US, as the last choice.

But officials in the United States are widely believed to prefer a bid for the Games in 2034 to avoid a clash with the 2028 Summer Olympics scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, US.

In December 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had announced it would postpone choosing a 2030 host.

It had been expected to be announced at this year’s IOC Session in Mumbai (India) but is now likely to be delayed until 2024 when the host for the 2034 Winter Olympics could also be chosen.

The IOC claimed the reason for the delay is the need for assessing the effects of climate change on the Winter Games and looking at the possibility of eventually establishing permanent, rotating Host Cities, although some believe it was to help Sapporo get over its current crisis.

Any bid involving Switzerland, though, would hinge on convincing the public to support it.

In 2018, a total of 53.98 percent of voters in Valais refused to pledge financial support for a 2026 Winter Games hosting bid centered on the town of Sion.

It was the third time in five years that a bid campaign supported by Swiss Olympic was rejected by the public.

In 2013, voters in the upscale ski resorts of St. Moritz and Davos in Switzerland, plus their home canton, rejected a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, eventually awarded to Beijing (China).

In 2017, the same Graubünden region rejected a renewed campaign for 2026.

The IOC blamed misinformation about the costs of hosting the Games for the decision five years ago to reject the Sion (Switzerland) bid.

St. Moritz hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948 but Switzerland has not hosted them since, despite its success in the Games and being the home country of the IOC.

It did, however, stage a successful Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2020.

Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo are due to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which could also prohibit against another bid involving Italy.

Chamonix, a resort area near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy, hosted the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924.

Since then, France has hosted the Winter Games in 1968 at Grenoble and Albertville in 1992.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a non-Governmental sports organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an association under the Swiss Civil Code.

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