(ATR) Innsbruck and the Tyrol region present the Austrian bid offer to the IOC to host the 2026 Olympics.
But the political leaders in the region are making it clear that the bid will go forward only on their terms of the Games being traditional, sustainable and cost-effective.
At a press conference announcing the offer on Monday, Tyrol provincial Governor Günther Platter told Austrian media "Our games, according to our rules. Only under our conditions will there be a contract with the IOC."
Both Platter and Innsbruck Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer say they will vote yes with "conviction" when the bid is put before the regional population in a referendum on Oct. 15.
The Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) expects the Tyrolean state government to approve the offer on Tuesday, Aug.15.
The offer, presented as a 10-point program, is based on the feasibility study that was released to the public in June and is clearly aimed at showing how a 2026 bid will directly benefit the local population.
The central focus of the bid is to keep costs down by making extensive use of existing venues in the region as well as in southern Germany. No new permanent sporting structures are needed, with temporary facilities planned for snowboard, freestyle skiing and Big Air snowboard.
The IOC’s recent changes to the bidding process to make it more affordable is an added bonus.
"The IOC is expected to provide funds and services worth 925 million US dollars," ÖOC General Secretary Peter Mennel said on Monday.
"The Olympics is a win-win situation for Tyrolean sports, for the Tyrolean clubs," he continued, adding "it is a matter of positioning Tyrol as a winter sports region worldwide - modern, contemporary, trendy. And we should provide a new sports culture that will bring our children and young people back to sport."
Ahead of the Oct. 15 referendum, a so-called "Olympic Roadshow" will tour the region to inform the population about the bid.
Innsbruck hosted the Winter Games in 1964 and 1976 but voters in the city torpedoed potential bids for 2002 and 2006 in separate referendums in the 1990’s. The city did host the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games.
Thus far, Switzerland is the only country to officially sign off on 2026 with a bid centered in Sion.
Other cities contemplating a bid for 2026 include former Winter Olympic host cities Calgary, Lillehammer and Sapporo along with newcomer Erzurum, Turkey.
The 2018 and 2022 Winter Games are in Asia, making Europe or North America a more likely spot for 2026.
Written by Gerard Farek
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