The International Olympic Committee has confirmed that its 140th IOC Session will be held in Mumbai from October 15–17 after a delay from its previously scheduled time period in the spring with several potential items on the agenda of note for the United States concerning the potential targeted dialogue for Salt Lake City to be a Winter Games host along with more details on the program for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
The executive board will meet October 12–13 before the session’s opening ceremony on October 14, the governing body announced Monday. The IOC Session will go back to India 40 years after the 86th edition, which took place in New Delhi in 1983.
The rescheduled session comes after the Indian Olympic Association was put on notice by the IOC in September 2022 after new elections were supposed to be held but were on hiatus. The IOC hinted that the session could be moved out of India unless there was a resolution to the issues in the IOA; PT Usha was elected to lead the organization in December, succeeding former IOC member Narinder Batra.
India has hinted it would like to host the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in 2036 but there will be two specific issues that the fall Session is expected to address that are more time-sensitive — the program for LA28 and targeted dialogue for a potential Winter Games.
The 2028 Program
The LA28 athletic program is expected to be finalized in Mumbai. The IOC approved the initial program in February 2022 and nine additional sports made its case for inclusion in October to LA28 and the IOC. From those nine sports, traditionally the host has proposed which sports it would like to add with the IOC giving its approval at the Session.
Surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing were approved in February along with aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, canoe, cycling, equestrian, fencing, golf, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, soccer, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, track and field, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling. The nine sports waiting for word on its status are motorsport, cricket, karate, baseball and softball, lacrosse, breaking, kickboxing, squash and football.
Of the nine sports, baseball/softball would appear to have the strongest case for inclusion given its American roots and appearance at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, although it will not be on the Paris 2024 program. Flag football and lacrosse were among the sports that IOC President Thomas Bach got a firsthand look while attending The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama; flag football in particular has gotten public backing and support from the National Football League toward potential inclusion. IOC observers were also on hand at the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas in February.
Still off the list for LA28 at the moment are Olympic stalwarts boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon. The International Modern Pentathlon Union has replaced riding with the obstacle discipline, a move it says was encouraged by the IOC to retain its status on the program despite loud opposition from some athletes. Weightlifting has been marred for decades by doping issues while the International Boxing Association has thumbed its nose at the IOC repeatedly in recent months, leading to the IOC to hint that it may even take the sport out of the Paris 2024 program.
2030 Targeted Dialogue
The Session in Mumbai is also where potentially a targeted dialogue with future Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games hosts could be announced, with Salt Lake City’s bid for either 2030 or 2034 the most advanced of any bidder.
Salt Lake City’s main contender to host in 2030 is Sweden after the Sweden Olympic and Paralympic Committees said last week it will study whether to bid for 2030. Sweden’s potential entry into the race to stage the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is what the International Olympic Committee has wanted since it announced in December it would postpone choosing a 2030 Winter Games host until 2024 and potentially do a double awarding for both 2030 and 2034.
The Utah state legislature and senate both unanimously approved a pair of bills in the latest step toward the Salt Lake City region hosting a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released said 82 percent support a return of the Games. The bills put in writing that the state will be the ultimate financial backstop and be able to provide security, transportation, power and other logistical needs for the Games.
Before the IOC’s December announcement, one of the three main bidders — Vancouver — was dealt a gut punch when the province of British Columbia said it would not financially support the city’s bid. Another bidder, Sapporo, has since “paused” its bid following a decline in public support after a bribery scandal involving Tokyo 2020. But with the Summer Olympics in 2028 already in Los Angeles, the IOC has been wary of having the U.S. host back-to-back Games.
The idea of Sweden joining the 2030 race came up at a meeting with the IOC in January. A joint Stockholm-Are bid lost out to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy to stage the Winter Games in 2026 amid a lack of clear public support in Sweden. Swedish Olympic official Hans von Uthmann told The Associated Press on Thursday there is a June target to complete a feasibility study he is overseeing that revives most of the 2026 proposal.
“We’re doing the work to be ready for either (Games) and we stand ready when the IOC calls on us,” said Hirshland, who later added “Salt Lake is a bid that is very difficult to compete with. Salt Lake is going to host the Winter Games again. Our preference is ‘34. If other entities come online for ‘30 that have viable bids, then we direct our attention to ‘34. If that doesn’t happen, we direct our attention to ‘30. There are not going to be bids that look more attractive to the IOC than Salt Lake City.”