(ATR) Austrian Olympic sports leaders back stability at Austrian Olympic Committee as the possibility looms for a new bid for the Winter Games.
Karl Stoss was elected to a third term as president at the annual meeting of the Austrian Olympic Committee March 1 in Vienna. Along with Stoss, a slate of incumbents was elected unanimously for four-year terms on the NOC executive. Stoss, 60, was elected to the IOC in 2016 as the sole member in Austria.
Stoss and his team are in the midst of the final months of preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Stoss says it’s the end of a long process.
"It’s all about improving the circumstances for our top athletes and their coaches. In the long run, we must define our objectives together with all the people in charge. Nowadays you have to plan years ahead to establish your position among the international competition," says Stoss.
Austria will send a team of about 115 athletes to PyeongChang next February. Austria place ninth in the 2014 medals table at 17 with four gold.
Stoss will also help oversee the nextsteps toward a possible 2026 Winter Olympic bid from Austria. A feasibility study is being prepared for Innsbruck that should be ready by late May.
Austria has bid three times in the past 15 years for the Winter Games, including two consecutive bids from Salzburg for 2010 and 2014. Innsbruck hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games and the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Secretary General Peter Mennel, also reelected at the NOC meeting, says "serious discussions" about the bid will follow the study. He believes the chances are better now than in the past.
"The time for a bid hasn’t been so good for a while as it is now for 2026, the chances are surely real," says Mennel. The 2018 and 2022 Winter Games are in Asia, making Europe a more likely spot for 2026. Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are considering bids, along with Calgary in Canada.
A location near Alpensia has been found for Austria House that’s close to a half dozen venues. Sponsorship is being sought for the 2.3 million euros project.
Serving new terms as NOC vice presidents will be Elisabeth Max-Theurer, Peter Schröcksnadel and Otto Flum.
Three new sports are taking their place on the board of the NOC, baseball, karate and climbing.
Veteran Austrian Ice Hockey Federation President Dieter Kalt was elected honorary member.
Written by Ed Hula.
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