Having eight times lost a bid to host the Olympic Winter Games, the Sweden Olympic and Paralympic Committees as well as Swedish Sports Confederation said this week it will study whether to bid for the Games yet again with a host for 2030 not yet determined.
A report from the study will be presented on April 20, the groups announced Wednesday. 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.
Before that 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 growing bribery scandal involving Tokyo 2020.
That has left Salt Lake City as the only remaining active candidate for 2030. While most regions have had issues convincing the public to embrace hosting the Olympics in recent years, a Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released this week said 82 percent support a return of the Games. The Utah legislature has introduced a pair of bills this week in the current session, The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Act, which authorizes the governor to sign agreements and make assurances concerning the host of the Olympics, and Concurrent Resolution Addressing the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which “makes certain assurances in contemplation of Utah’s potential hosting of the 2030 or 2034 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
But with the Summer Olympics in 2028 already awarded to 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.
“We have had a meeting with the IOC that was about, without obligation from any quarter, looking at the Games in 2030,” said Anders Larsson, acting chairman of the Swedish Olympic Committee. “During that meeting, it was clear that the IOC liked our concept for 2026. What the feasibility study will provide answers to is whether we are ready to move forward in the process.”
The Stockholm-Are bid for 2026 included plans to stage ice-sliding sports across the Baltic Sea at a venue in Latvia to avoid building a white elephant venue in Sweden — a key demand of IOC reforms to cut Olympic hosting costs.
“These are new times now and the feasibility study will show how the Olympics and Paralympics can be shaped based on Sweden’s conditions,” Larsson said. “We already have virtually all the arenas required to arrange the largest Winter Games.”
Despite the country being an established giant in winter sports, Sweden has never hosted a Winter Games; it hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1912, famously known as the Games where American Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon and decathlon before the gold medals were stripped a year later after the IOC learned Thorpe had taken expense money for playing baseball, violating Olympic amateurism rules that existed at the time. The IOC did not reverse that decision until in 2022 when the IOC posthumously declared Thorpe the winner in both events.
The committee’s secretary general, Åsa Edlund Jönsson, said the 2030 Games “could be a campfire to rally Sweden around.”
“The idea is to review the concept that existed for the candidacy in 2026, which would mean competitions in several places in Sweden,” Jönsson said, specifically referencing Stockholm and the regions of Dalarna and Jämtland. “Here we feel confident that there is great experience in arranging world-class winter championships in the Swedish sports movement.”