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Does Anyone Want the 2026 Winter Olympics?

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Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka competes in the women's super-G at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Photo: AP

By Evan Weiner |

It appears that the backers of the 2026 Sapporo, Japan, Winter Olympics bid really don’t want to go ahead with it. The Sapporo backers may want to try to land the 2030 Winter Games but there really isn’t much of an explanation as to why the group is seeking a delay.

Perhaps it is the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s recent remark that he hopes that the Olympics will return to a more traditional location. Such as Europe, maybe Switzerland. Perhaps Sion and Valais. The Swiss canton of Valais has decided to hook up with Sion in a joint bid for the 2026 Winter Games. Sion residents still need to vote on whether they want the Games. The will occur on June 10.

Meanwhile, there seems to be some confusion as to whether elected officials in Calgary want to commit funding for a 2026 Winter Olympics Bid. There could be a non-binding vote later this year in Calgary to determine if local residents want the event. The problem is money, local bid committees need lots of loons, Swiss francs, yens to host an Olympics and local residents are becoming more and more reluctant to spend public money to fund the Olympics whether it is the Summer or Winter Games.

IOC demands of cities and countries include having a slush fund to pay off cost overruns and some rules about signage or billboards in a city, all have to be covered in order for Olympics sponsors to show their messages on billboards in an area with no competition. There are business and public leaders in Graz, Austria that want the Games but local residents have a petition going to force a referendum on whether Graz should host the Olympics.

Italy, Turkey and Stockholm, Sweden seem to have a heightened interest in hosting the 2026 Olympics. The Olympics is no longer a must have event.

By Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business 

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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