The International Olympic Committee will not be handing out multiple Winter Games to cities during its next general session if IOC President Thomas Bach is to be believed.
Bach told the Kyodo News last week that at the May session in India, only the awarding of the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games would be announced instead of a simultaneous announcement for 2030 and 2034. Bach’s tenure as IOC president ends in 2025 and he told the news organization new leadership should chart its own path for 2034.
“I think that even in a situation where you could have, on the mere technical side, good reasons to do it, that for reasons of good governance, it would not be the right thing to do,” Bach said.
Three previous Winter Games hosts are bidding to host in 2030: 1972 host Sapporo, 2002 host Salt Lake City and 2010 host Vancouver. 2034 would be the first Games awarded by a future new IOC president with the 2032 Summer Games already heading to Brisbane, Australia.
Salt Lake City’s hopes for another Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games may be delayed to 2034, the chair of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee hinted last month. Susanne Lyons, whose term as board chair ends at the end of 2022, told The Associated Press “if we have a preference, it would be better for us to do 2034,” after the USOPC and members from the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games met with IOC officials last month in Switzerland.
Lyons said “this doesn’t mean that we are out of the running for 2030.” She hinted at inflation concerns from the sponsorship and budgetary side of things given the short turnaround to 2030 after the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles as well as “some unhappiness at the IOC not directed toward the USOPC or the Salt Lake bid commission, but toward the U.S. government in terms of what they perceive to be a lack of support for the IOC” after a bipartisan Congressional panel last year accused U.S-based sponsors of the IOC of putting profits ahead of human rights and the U.S. held a diplomatic boycott of the Games.
Even as Lyons’ comments started to move the Salt Lake discussion back four years, she also said “what could potentially still make us a 2030 candidate really is dependent on the other bids and that’s what I think the IOC now is waiting for. Our bid is a bit ahead of the bids of Sapporo and Vancouver. I think they’re waiting to see what other countries can offer.”
Salt Lake City bid organizers have proposed a $2.2 billion budget should it host in 2030 with that number increasing 10 percent for inflation on a 2034 bid.
The other North American bid from Vancouver took an important step last week when the Canadian Olympic Committee and Indigenous partners put the estimated cost for the Games at $3 billion, with a third of the funding from governments and the rest from private sources. The Vancouver bid is between the city and four of Canada’s First Nations tribes, making it the first indigenous-led bid for a Games.
The budget estimate was released the same time as the Globe and Mail reported that British Columbia’s Tourism and Sports Minister Melanie Mark last month told the Canadian Olympic Committee that it would not consider support for the 2030 bid until there is proof the communities and First Nations participating are prepared to contribute to the costs. Mark’s letter, dated June 24, said information must be supplied to the province by August 15 about the costs before the province decides if and how it will participate.
Sapporo’s proposed budget ranges from $2.4 billion to $2.6 billion. Like Salt Lake City and Vancouver, Sapporo proposes using almost all existing venues with some renovations needed. Bach told Kyodo News on Tuesday “there is a very good cooperation between the different levels of authorities and government on the one hand … and also there is a good cooperation with the Japanese Olympic Committee on the other hand. And this kind of cooperation and support is one of the essentials for every intention to host Olympic Games.”
Sapporo first put itself forward as a candidate for 2026, which eventually was awarded to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Olympic observers have openly wondered if the IOC would award Sapporo the 2030 Games as almost a make-good to Japan after the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo were delayed a year by COVID-19 and then held in 2021 without fans allowed in attendance, leading to massive budgetary overruns that were covered by taxpayer money.