IOC: No Sense of Urgency in 2026 Bid Process

(ATR) Despite the recent losses of Sion and Graz, Christophe Dubi tells ATR the process is the “same as always”.

(ATR) The IOC executive director tells Around the Rings that there is "no sense of urgency" in the 2026 bid process despite Sion and Graz dropping out and Sapporo talking about a 2030 bid.

Christophe Dubi says the process is the "same as always".

"No sense of urgency simply because our process was always an open one in which the first year is about dialogue," Dubi said in an interview with ATR in Tokyo, where he is part of the IOC Coordination Commission inspection visit for the 2020 Olympic Games.

"Some [cities] join, others will leave but the crux of the matter is to take all the value proposition and push them until we are very satisfied and the cities are satisfied as well that it’s part of their long-term development plan," Dubi says.

"So it is something that is very organized, that was open by design and yes, you have cities that are still in, others that have left... no urgency."

Earlier this month, Graz became the second potential 2026 bid from Austria to pull out. The Austrian Olympic Committee blamed a lack of government support. A bid from Innsbruck was torpedoed in a referendum last October.

Last month, a bid from Sion in Switzerland was ended by voters in a referendum. An earlier Swiss attempt in the canton of Graubünden also failed to pass muster in a vote.

With Graz and Sion now out of the running, five bids remain in the process. But one of those, the 1972 Winter Games host Sapporo, could soon be opting out.

Sapporo is still in talks with stakeholders on whether the city will bid for 2026 or wait until 2030. Dubi told ATR that there have been no discussions between the IOC and the Japanese Olympic Committee in Tokyo this week about the Sapporo bid.

But he says the IOC and Sapporo are in touch almost every day as part of the collaborative bidding process.

"Yes, so they [Sapporo] have indicated publicly the preference for '30 but as far as our discussions go we’re still plugging ahead on '26. They are in this process and very much so."

As for the remaining four potential bidders, Calgary will hold a plebiscite later this year, most likely in November.

The question of government support for Stockholm’s bid for 2026 will likely be determined by the results of Sweden’s national elections in September. A referendum appears to not be a concern since it is very rarely used in Sweden.

The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) officially approved a bid earlier this week. CONI is expected to make a decision on a candidate city by September. Milan, Turin and Cortina d’Ampezzo are in the running though it is believed CONI prefers a joint bid from Milan and Turin.

Erzurum, Turkey has always been considered the outsider in the 2026 race but with clear government support and no referendum needed it could also be the only candidate still standing in the coming months.

Written by Gerard Farek, with reporting from Aaron Bauer in Tokyo

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