Sapporo says it can hold the 2030 Olympics and also save money

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TOKYO – The city of Sapporo, in northern Japan, became one of the first to clinch the 2030 Winter Olympics after the mayor announced a plan on Monday that he said would reduce the costs of organizing the 2030 Winter Olympics. one of the most expensive sporting events.

Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto told a news conference he would conduct a public opinion survey early next year. He did not indicate what effect this would have on the decision to pursue further Olympics.

However, a statement distributed by organizers on Monday suggested the decision had already been made to continue.

“We will communicate our ideas on the Games bid and determine public expectations and concerns regarding the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” the statement said. “These opinions will be incorporated into all future planning studies.”

Public referendums in several European cities have rejected the plan to organize the Olympic Games.

Akimoto acknowledged that there are concerns over costs, particularly after the official cost of the just-concluded Tokyo Summer Olympics was announced at $15.4 billion. Some believe that the actual costs were twice as high and that all but about $6 billion was public money.

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“People have also expressed hopes, but they are particularly worried about the heavy cost burden in the future,” Akimoto said.

The IOC has not indicated when it will choose the 2030 host city.

Sapporo officials put the projected costs at 280-300 billion yen ($2.55-2.65 billion). Officials said 80 billion yen (about $700 million) would be taxpayers’ money for investment costs, with the rest coming from sponsors, ticket sales and the IOC.

Officials said that was a 20% reduction from estimates made in 2019.

Kio Momoi, a resident of Sapporo, said she finds it troubling that the bid is proceeding without any consultation or democratic discussion.

“If you’re going to spend that kind of money, there’s a lot more meaningful things that can use that money,” she said in a recent phone interview. “They don’t care about ordinary people’s lives. No one came to ask us what we thought of it, but the powers that be made the decision.

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Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics and the mayor said at least 92% of the venues would be existing structures.

However, the cost of refurbishing existing venues will also be significant, and it is impossible to accurately project costs for an event nearly a decade away. A study from the University of Oxford showed that almost all recent Olympic Games went over budget.

Sapporo is just one of many cities to express interest. They include the Spanish regions of Aragon and Catalonia, a possible bid from Ukraine, the 2010 host city of Vancouver, and some interest in 2030 or 2034 from Salt Lake City, which hosted the Winter Olympics. from 2002.

Sapporo has favorite status, largely because it is ahead of schedule, and also because the International Olympic Committee is indebted after Tokyo incurred nearly $3 billion in additional costs due to the delay in one year of the pandemic.

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The IOC no longer goes through a lengthy bidding process to select host cities. They are now chosen by the management of the Olympic body and the decisions are no longer the responsibility of the basic members of the IOC.

The change came as the last two Summer Olympics – Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo – had bids marred by allegations that IOC members were bribed for their votes.

Old Carlos Nuzman, IOC member of Brazil was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for, among other things, bribing IOC members during the 2009 vote for 2016.

He is appealing the conviction.

Tsunekazu Takeda resigned in 2019 as an IOC member and head of the Japanese Olympic Committee when he was implicated in corruption allegations regarding a bid for the Tokyo Olympics. He denied any wrongdoing.

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The IOC has already selected its venues for the Games until 2032, with the exception of the 2030 Winter Olympics. These are: Beijing in 2022; Paris in 2024; Milan-Cortina in 2026; Los Angeles in 2028; and Brisbane, Australia in 2032.

“There is no fixed timetable for electing a host for 2030, or any other edition of the Olympic Games,” the IOC said in a statement to The Associated Pres. guided by strategic opportunities for the Olympic Movement and the global context.”

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