Electing future Olympic Winter Games hosts

At the end of Beijing 2022, the local organising committee will pass the Olympic flag to the Milano-Cortina 2026 Organising Committee – host of the next Olympic Winter Games. The host for the following edition in 2030 has yet to be chosen. What does the future have in store for the Olympic Winter Games, when will the host for 2030 be elected, and who decides?

Electing a host for the Olympic Winter Games 2030: all you need to know IOC/Jason Evans

Who decides the hosts for the Olympic Winter Games?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has two permanent Future Host Commissions responsible for exploring, monitoring and encouraging interest in the Olympic Winter Games and Winter Youth Olympic Games; or the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games (YOG).

The Commissions also explore opportunities and challenges related to future hosting. These Commissions consist of IOC Members and other Olympic stakeholders and always include athlete representatives.

To ensure there is no conflict of interest, no IOC Executive Board (EB) member is allowed to serve on the Commissions. IOC Members and other stakeholders from countries which have expressed a formal interest in hosting are not allowed to serve on the respective Commission (for summer or winter).

The Commissions report to the EB about each project’s progress, and it is up to the EB to decide whether one or more potential hosts should be proposed for election. Hosts are elected by a secret ballot of all IOC Members.

How can a city or region express interest in hosting?

The IOC welcomes approaches at any time from cities and regions interested in information, advice or informal discussions about hosting a future edition of the Games, not linked to any particular year.

These discussions are confidential and non-committal on both sides and will provide the most up-to-date information on IOC strategy and Olympic Games delivery, allowing National Olympic Committees (NOCs), cities and regions to take informed decisions about whether to proceed with their project.

These touchpoints provide an opportunity for potential hosts to learn more about Olympic Games planning and organisation, latest developments and future trends, and will help guide local feasibility assessments before putting forward a project.

They may also help the NOC and city or region to understand better which Games (summer, winter, or YOG) or which year of the Games might be most appropriate to their local conditions and long-term socio-economic development plans. Sustainability and legacy are key factors from the beginning.

If the region decides to go further, it can enter a more formal Continuous Dialogue by submitting a letter through its NOC. From this point the potential host receives the status of Interested Party.

During Continuous Dialogue, the IOC helps each Interested Party to improve its Olympic project to achieve maximum benefits for local populations. Continuous Dialogue is flexible, collaborative and non-Games edition specific. It allows Interested Parties to seek advice and share ideas without commitment.

Electing a host for the Olympic Winter Games 2030: all you need to know IOC/Abbie Parr

Which regions are interested in hosting the Olympic Winter Games 2030?

There is strong interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games from previous hosts and new regions.

The future of the Olympic Movement is being shaped by two strategic roadmaps: Olympic Agenda 2020 and Olympic Agenda 2020+5. These reforms have made organising the Games, and the process to become a host, more sustainable and cost-effective, leading to an 80 per cent reduction in expenditure by potential hosts during the application process. They are often cited by potential hosts as reasons for opening a dialogue with the IOC.

In order to respect the confidentiality of each possible host as they work toward the development of the public and private dimensions of their project, the IOC does not release a list of Interested Parties. This is in line with the Terms of Reference for the Future Host Commissions.

Each potential host is free to communicate publicly about its project when it feels the time is right.

When will the host of the Olympic Winter Games 2030 be elected?

The new, flexible and collaborative approach to electing Olympic hosts means there is no longer a fixed bid cycle with an election seven years before the Games, as in the past. This enables the IOC to take into account the natural pace of each potential host and the development of their project. The IOC can therefore bring in the right project and partner for the Olympic Games at the right time, to ensure strategic benefit for the Olympic Movement. The timing depends on a number of factors, including global events.

This flexibility was demonstrated by the dual election of Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 in 2017, and Brisbane 2032 in 2021.

An election can happen only at the end of a successful Targeted Dialogue – a formal process to evaluate one or more Olympic projects, explained further below.

Electing a host for the Olympic Winter Games 2030: all you need to know IOC/Jason Evans

How will the host for 2030 be elected?

At the moment, the IOC is involved in a non-edition-specific Continuous Dialogue with a number of potential hosts of the Olympic Winter Games.

The feasibility of the Olympic projects of all Interested Parties are analysed by the Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, chaired by IOC Member Octavian Morariu.

When the time is right, the Commission can recommend the EB to open a Targeted Dialogue with one or more Interested Parties, which then become known as Preferred Hosts. It is only at this point that the discussions become specific to a particular year of the Games.

Targeted Dialogue represents a deep dive into the evaluation of an Olympic project, during which the Preferred Hosts have to provide a number of guarantees, including on legal and financial matters.

At its conclusion, the Future Host Commission will report back to the EB whether all the conditions have been met for any Preferred Host to be put forward to an IOC Session for election.

How important is having natural snow to host the Olympic Winter Games?

Please see the questions and answers about artificial snow.

Both Future Host Commissions are mandated to explore future opportunities and challenges related to hosting, including climate change.  At all stages of the dialogue, the Future Host Commission takes into account sustainability and climate conditions.

Does a city or region need to have all the infrastructure already in place to host the Olympic Winter Games?

In line with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the reforms of the IOC’s subsequent strategic document, the New Norm, no new infrastructure or venues are required to host the Olympic Winter Games. The IOC looks for the maximum possible use of existing and temporary venues.

Potential hosts must demonstrate sustainability and legacy at the heart of their Games proposal. They should also show that their Games proposal aligns with their long-term socio-economic development plans to improve the region for their population. As well as geopolitical and economic factors, the IOC takes into consideration the project’s vision and masterplan, including existing winter sports infrastructure; the experience for athletes; political and public support; the marketing and legal framework; accommodation; transport and security; and winter sports operations experience.

Many of these factors will be influenced by whether a region already has a winter sports tradition, or existing plans to develop its winter sports offering.

In 2024, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Winter Games. For the next edition, the Olympic Winter Games will return to Europe for the first time in 20 years. Read more about the Games plan and vision for Milano-Cortina 2026.

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