The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) has received the report from the Olympic Winter Games Working Group 2026 assessing the feasibility of the four Interested Cities: Calgary (Canada), Erzurum (Turkey), Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italy) and Stockholm (Sweden).
The Working Group analysed the preliminary plans through the lens of Olympic Agenda 2020/ New Norm, including an emphasis on maximum use of existing infrastructure. The report focuses on the alignment of the Games project with the local, regional and national long-term development plans to make them more feasible and sustainable, and leave tangible legacies.
The IOC EB took note that, as a result, the positive impact of Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm can already be clearly seen among the Interested Cities for 2026. On average, they plan to use 80 per cent existing or temporary venues, compared to 60 per cent among the Candidate Cities for the Olympic Winter Games 2018 and 2022. In addition, the initial Games operating costs projected by them are on average 15 per cent (approximately USD 300 million) lower than those of the cities in the two previous candidature processes.
The IOC EB expressed its satisfaction with all the hard work, commitment and collaboration from the Interested Cities and NOCs that joined the process. Considering the feasibility assessment of the Olympic Winter Games Working Group 2026 as well as the objectives of Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm, the IOC EB recommends that the IOC Session convening in Buenos Aires on 8 and 9 October invites the following Cities (in alphabetical order) to the Candidature Stage:
- Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo
The final decision will be taken at the IOC Session, which takes place on 8 and 9 October 2018 in Buenos Aires.
The findings of the Working Group report included the following on each of the Interested Cities:
The city breathes the legacy of the 1988 Games and can make optimal use of existing venues for 2026. Calgary boasts valuable experience and expertise in hosting winter sports competitions and other major events. The city, the province and its people have a deep love and affinity for winter sports. In dialogue and partnership with the IOC, Calgary has developed a Games concept and vision that fit the new era of Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm and meet the city’s long-term goals.
- Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo:
Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo combine the advantages of a big European city and those of a popular mountain resort region in the Italian Alps. The candidature benefits from the region’s strong winter sports history, tradition and experience, as well as the Italians’ love and passion for sport. The project can also leverage the economic strength and prosperity of the northern Italian region. While planning is still at an early stage, the project has the potential to achieve the long-term goals of the cities and the region in line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm.
A modern global capital with a historic city centre, Stockholm proposes venues in the heart of the city that would elevate and energise the Games experience. Sweden has the hosting experience, love for winter sports and established World Cup venues necessary for delivering the Games. In line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm, Stockholm has developed a Games concept that addresses the city’s future needs and aims to improve the lives of all its citizens.
The timing for 2026 is challenging. The concentration of investment in general infrastructure such as accommodation, transport, energy and telecoms would be extremely high. Significant investment would also be needed in sports venues. The region has limited experience in hosting major international winter sports events and would benefit from organising further World Cups, World Championships and the Youth Olympic Games.
Erzurum nevertheless presents great promise for the long-term future, having an ambitious vision of developing a young and vibrant university city into a winter sports centre. Erzurum can take advantage of national government plans and funding to develop the city into a major hub.
The IOC EB was pleased to learn that all Interested Cities expressed their appreciation for the new Candidature Process, which includes reduced requirements and results in easier, more efficient lower-cost candidatures and Games concepts better suited for the cities and the Olympic Movement. The Cities cited the reforms as a major factor in their decision to enter the process.
The IOC EB wishes all the Interested Cities the best of luck going forward. Even those that do not proceed with a candidature at this time will have benefitted from this exercise, as it has allowed them to assess and analyse their development aims in-depth. The knowledge gained from the experience will prove invaluable in their consideration of future projects, including potential Olympic candidatures.
Should the Session approve the proposal of the IOC EB, the 134th Session will be moved from Milan, Italy, to Switzerland.