Seven cities from three continents have put themselves forward to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. First-time bidders Turkey are among the nations to have expressed an interest in following Beijing 2022.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement on Tuesday that Austria (Graz), Canada (Calgary), Italy (Cortina d'Ampezzo/Turin/Milan), Japan (Sapporo), Sweden, (Stockholm), Switzerland (Sion) and Turkey (Erzurum) met the March 31 deadline for expressing interest in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
Cortina (1956), Sapporo (1972), Calgary (1988) and Turin (2006) want to host the Winter Games for the second time while Stockholm is a past summer host.
“I warmly welcome the NOCs’ [National Olympic Committees'] and cities’ interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games. The IOC has turned the page with regard to Olympic candidatures. Our goal is not just to have a record number of candidates, but ultimately it is to select the best city to stage the best Olympic Winter Games for the best athletes of the world,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
Turkey's Istanbul lost out for the Summer Games in 2020 against Tokyo in the final round of an IOC vote in 2013. Erzurum, which hosted the 2011 Winter Universiade, is the nation's first city interested in hosting the Winter Olympics.
The cities will now enter a so-called "dialogue stage" until October when the IOC will invite an some to take part in the one-year candidature phase.
The IOC has overhauled the bidding process for Winter and Summer Games after a decline in interest from potential cities in recent years, cutting costs for bid cities and slashing the campaign time in half.
mp/dv (dpa, SID)