IOC technical visit to Sapporo kicks off busy June for 2030 Winter Olympics bids

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The city of Sapporo has received a technical team of three International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who are visiting proposed venues in the city and across Hokkaido this week.

Niseko Ski Resort, about 100 km from Sapporo, could host alpine events at the 2030 Winter Olympics (Niseko Resort Photo)

The anonymous team travels with representatives of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) in private as they explore up to 16 possible venues that could be considered host facilities for the 2030 Olympics and Paralympics. Although downplayed by the As a mere “service” to regions interested in hosting future Olympic Games, the visit will provide the IOC with important findings that can be used to determine which projects will be pursued as candidates later this year.

IOC executive director Christophe Dubi told reporters last month that his organization’s future host committee will be looking closely at interested bidders during the summer and fall months to determine which will be elevated to status. of “targeted dialogue” – or candidates – from December. . A winning bid could be elected at the IOC Session on May 30 in Mumbai, India.

Sapporo hosted Asia’s first-ever Winter Games in 1972 and last year staged track and field road races as part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The trio of experts are expected to visit snow venues in area and major facilities in Sapporo, but according to local reports, they will not be visiting the sliding and ski jumping venues in Nagano where the 1998 Winter Games were held.

The Japanese city is considered the most advanced bid of the four projects currently known to be in discussion with the IOC. Hokkaido’s capital passed on a bid to host the 2026 Games, but instead pushed back plans to 2030 after an earthquake hit the area in 2018. City officials have launched a pledge campaign public and rejected the need for a referendum after polls taken earlier this year showed levels of support. in the ranges of 50% and 60%.

IOC technical experts visited Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Games, in April and toured the facilities of the 2010 host city, Vancouver, in May. Plans to visit the Catalan region in Spain have been postponed twice due to the disorganization of the joint project proposed from Barcelona and the Pyrenees. Last week, that bid collapsed after regional partners failed to agree on site distribution by a set deadline.

A binding referendum of July 24 planned in the regions concerned has therefore been postponed until this fall at the earliest, if the candidacy survives until then.

Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) officials remain determined to present a strong 2030 proposal to the IOC before it’s too late, but COE President Alejandro Blanco hasn’t had good news for the President of the CIO, Thomas Bach, who was in Madrid on Wednesday to discuss the Olympic Foundation for Refugees. According to local media, Bach told reporters that he was confident the offer could be taken from Blanco.

A high-level delegation from Salt Lake City plans to visit the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 15-16 for in-person discussions on the US bid.

The four bids, and any others who may be secretly involved in the confidential “continuing dialogue” stage of the IOC’s Olympic bid process, have been invited as observers to the Winter Games debriefing meeting in Beijing 2022 with Milan-Cortina 2026 scheduled for June 20 in Italy. . Plans for delegations to attend the event have yet to be confirmed by GamesBids.com.

Vancouver’s eventual bid to host an Indigenous-led Games is set to hit a major milestone this month with the completion of its feasibility study. With the results in hand, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) will liaise with First Nations partners and participating municipalities to determine whether the bid will officially proceed.

Canada’s bid will launch a public information campaign if the partners agree to go ahead with the plans, which could reignite calls for a referendum after a Vancouver City Council motion to put the bid to a vote failed. not received support earlier this year.

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