(ATR) The three regions in Sweden’s 2026 Games plan have thrown their full support behind an Olympic bid they say offers minimal financial risks and multiple economic benefits.
A joint letter signed by the executive council chairs of the regions – Stockholm, Jämtland Härjedalen, Dalarna – slated to host events at the Stockholm Åre 2026 Olympics underlines their support for bringing the Winter Games to Sweden for the first time.
Regional backing for Stockholm 2026 follows the bid's struggle to secure national government support for their Olympic ambitions after a period of political uncertainty in Sweden.The IOC gave Stockholm a three-month extension to secure government backing, which was finally confirmed in April.
The regional governments highlight the benefits of a sustainable Olympic plan, acknowledging that it minimises environmental impact, and point to the Games’ potential economic benefits
"We get the opportunity to show the breadth and beauty of our magnificent country – and to increase awareness and interest in Sweden," the regional chiefs said in the letter.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Sweden, and Swedish expertise, to the world. Properly managed, an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden can make an impact long after 2026 and open up new markets and opportunities for Swedish companies and businesses."
Regional executive councils wield considerable influence in both public transport and public health under the Swedish system of government, making them vitally important in the successful delivery of the Games and its social legacies.
The Stockholm Region Executive Council alone manages an annual budget of around $11.1 billion, according to the bid.
In the letter, the council leaders emphasize that hosting the 2026 Games would be "about much more than just world-class competition and an unforgettable festival atmosphere".
"An Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden would be delivered in a uniquely sustainable way – in terms of the environment, but also in terms of the economy and wider society," they stated.
"The focus around sustainability for 2026 is extremely good for Sweden, a nation leading in this area globally, thanks to long-standing systematic work on sustainable development."
No public funds will be committed to the staging of the Games, but all three levels of government have been involved in the development of the Swedish Olympic bid since the beginning. Stockholm, Jämtland Härjedalen and Dalarna have formally guaranteed the provision of all necessary public services to the Games.
Stockholm 2026 has also received the necessary guarantees of services from the national governments of Sweden and Latvia, which will host the sliding events, as well as the municipal governments of Stockholm and Åre.
Stockholm faces competition from a Milan-Cortina bid to stage the 2026 Games. The host city vote takes place at the IOC Session in Lausanne on June 24.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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