Wanted by the IOC: A city to host the 2026 Winter Olympics - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Wanted by the IOC: A city to host the 2026 Winter Olympics

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee speaks to Associated Press reporters at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Alyssa Goodman Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee speaks to Associated Press reporters at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Alyssa Goodman
(AP Photo/John Locher). Spectators arrive for the women's 1,000 meters speedskating race at the Gangneung Oval at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/John Locher). Spectators arrive for the women's 1,000 meters speedskating race at the Gangneung Oval at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

By STEPHEN WADE
AP Sports Writer

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - Wanted: A city to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Getting bidders for the Olympics used to be easy. But no longer, and particularly for the Winter Games.

Six European cities pulled out of official bids or possible bids when the IOC sought candidates a few years ago for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Cities balked over soaring costs, political unrest or a lack of public support as expressed in referendums.

That left the IOC with only two proposals, both from authoritarian governments that backed cities devoid of winter sports traditions: Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China.

Beijing narrowly won, but that set off alarms at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"The 2022 (bidding) certainly highlighted the problems we were facing in attracting cities, particularly winter cities," IOC member and former vice president John Coates said. "We had to do something to address the cost of the games. Increased costs have forced our hand."

Coates said the International Olympic Committee is doing a "total rethink" over the way the games are presented to potential bidders, and how they're sold to the public.

The Switzerland-based Olympic body is trying to rebrand, billing itself as user friendly and at the service of host cities - and not the other way around. Officials are talking up flexibility and cost cutting, trying to change the IOC's image of pressuring cities to build new sports venues that quickly become unused "white elephants."

Four cities have shown preliminary interest for 2026: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Sapporo, Japan. Calgary and Sapporo have hosted previous Winter Olympics, and Stockholm held the Summer Olympics in 1912. Sweden has never held the Winter Olympics.

"We are saying, come around and dialogue with us," said Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympics.

Dubi said Norway, Austria and the United States had also shown some interest - if not for 2026, then for 2030.

U.S. Olympic officials say the nation won't bid for the 2026 Games, with Los Angeles hosting the Summer Olympics in 2028. Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno, Nevada, are expected to consider 2030 bids.

Richard Brisius, the CEO of Stockholm's exploratory committee, told The Associated Press he believes the IOC's changes are "real," not a cosmetic makeover.

"They (IOC) are taking big steps to change for the future." Brisius said. "That means for a small, democratic country like Sweden, we feel now we have a good chance at this."

European and North American candidates probably have an edge for 2026. Sapporo held great Olympics in 1972, but putting the games in Japan would come just after Tokyo's 2020 Olympics, and after two winter games in Asia: Pyeongchang and Beijing.

Coates joked that letting cities talking informally before bidding formally with the IOC eliminated "the schmoozing" and back-scratching that has gone on, driving up costs for cities that eventually win the bid - and even for losing cities that don't.

Chicago, the losing bidder for the 2016 Summer Olympics, is reported to have spent $100 million on paperwork and consultants - and got nothing from it.

Winning bidders have wound up with even larger tabs. Rio de Janeiro spent about $13 billion in private and public money to host the 2016 games, though some put the cost at $20 billion.

Sochi famously spent $51 billion to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics, a price tag that scared off many bidders; particularly cities in Europe and North America.

Last year, the IOC awarded two Summer Olympics simultaneously to Paris and Los Angeles - 2024 and 2028 - in one bid process. Dubi said it was "too early to speculate" if it might do the same for the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics.

Simon Chadwick, who specializes in Olympics research at the University of Salford in Manchester, England, says the IOC has a sales job on its hands.

"At best, the scientific evidence suggests that the economic benefits associated with bidding for and hosting the Games are marginal," Chadwick said in an email to the AP. "As such, the case for hosting is open to debate, hence there has been an increasing trend for European countries to put bidding decisions to a popular vote via a referendum."

Voters in at least two European cities - Munich, Germany, and St. Moritz, Switzerland - turned down referendums to pursue bids for 2022. The Munich vote was embarrassing for IOC President Thomas Bach, who is from Germany.

"The costs are not just financial," Chadwick wrote. "People often perceive that there are social, legal and environmental costs too." He also added "opportunity cost," meaning money spent on the Olympics could have been spent elsewhere.

China spent at least $40 billion on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Chinese are spending big again on the Winter Games.

Bach has cautioned China to rein in spending and "stick to the reforms." But he also lauded organizers for raising so much money.

The IOC generated almost $6 billion in revenue in the last Olympic cycle - 2013-2016 - but uses just a fraction of that to help host cities.

"We have already discussed with the Beijing organizing committee about different venues, about the location for venues, about the scale of venues, in order to reduce costs," Bach said days before the Pyeongchang Olympics opened. "On the other hand, we have to say we are really almost overwhelmed by the marketing success of Beijing 2022."

___

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Indictment of Missouri governor could have political ripples

    Indictment of Missouri governor could have political ripples

    Saturday, February 24 2018 9:15 AM EST2018-02-24 14:15:50 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:01 AM EST2018-02-24 16:01:19 GMT
    It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Source: AP Photos)It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Source: AP Photos)

    The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges could have political implications beyond his office.

    More >>

    The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges could have political implications beyond his office.

    More >>
  • US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

    US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

    Friday, February 23 2018 10:45 AM EST2018-02-23 15:45:44 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:01 AM EST2018-02-24 16:01:14 GMT
    U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has changed a proposed overhaul of his department with a new organizational map that more closely follows state lines instead of the natural boundaries he initially proposed.More >>
    U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has changed a proposed overhaul of his department with a new organizational map that more closely follows state lines instead of the natural boundaries he initially proposed.More >>
  • Greitens blames politics, but even some in GOP concerned

    Greitens blames politics, but even some in GOP concerned

    Friday, February 23 2018 8:04 AM EST2018-02-23 13:04:51 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 11:01 AM EST2018-02-24 16:01:12 GMT
    (St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP). A booking photo provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.  A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Greit...(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP). A booking photo provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Greit...
    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is defiant, even amid calls for impeachment or resignation, after a St. Louis grand jury indicts him for felony invasion of privacy.More >>
    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is defiant, even amid calls for impeachment or resignation, after a St. Louis grand jury indicts him for felony invasion of privacy.More >>
  • 2018 Winter Olympics2018 Winter OlympicsMore>>

  • The Latest: Czech star Ledecka secures rare Olympic double

    The Latest: Czech star Ledecka secures rare Olympic double

    Friday, February 23 2018 8:14 PM EST2018-02-24 01:14:57 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:59 AM EST2018-02-24 15:59:27 GMT
    (AP Photo/Michael Sohn). Driver Nadezhda Sergeeva and Anastasia Kocherzhova of the Olympic Athletes of Russia take a curve in their third heat during the women's two-man bobsled final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, ...(AP Photo/Michael Sohn). Driver Nadezhda Sergeeva and Anastasia Kocherzhova of the Olympic Athletes of Russia take a curve in their third heat during the women's two-man bobsled final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, ...

    The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation says it isn't commenting yet on an alleged anti-doping rule violation by Russian women's bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

    More >>

    The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation says it isn't commenting yet on an alleged anti-doping rule violation by Russian women's bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

    More >>
  • Chapter 2: Ledecka wins gold again, this time on a snowboard

    Chapter 2: Ledecka wins gold again, this time on a snowboard

    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:15 AM EST2018-02-24 06:15:03 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:59 AM EST2018-02-24 15:59:23 GMT
    (AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Ester Ledecka, of the Czech Republic, runs the course during the women's parallel giant slalom semifinal at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Gregory Bull). Ester Ledecka, of the Czech Republic, runs the course during the women's parallel giant slalom semifinal at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.
    Ester Ledecka won the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom Saturday to go to her surprise win in the Alpine super-G earlier in the games.More >>
    Ester Ledecka won the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding's parallel giant slalom Saturday to go to her surprise win in the Alpine super-G earlier in the games.More >>
  • Head of US Alpine team to AP: 'Have to rebuild' before 2022

    Head of US Alpine team to AP: 'Have to rebuild' before 2022

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:25 AM EST2018-02-24 05:25:05 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:59 AM EST2018-02-24 15:59:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File). FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2011, file photo, Alpine director Patrick Riml of the United States ski team looks on during the presentation of the United States ski team in Innsbruck, Austria. Riml tells the AP that his men...(AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File). FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2011, file photo, Alpine director Patrick Riml of the United States ski team looks on during the presentation of the United States ski team in Innsbruck, Austria. Riml tells the AP that his men...
    The head of the U.S. Alpine skiing team told the AP that his team has to rebuild before the 2022 Olympics.More >>
    The head of the U.S. Alpine skiing team told the AP that his team has to rebuild before the 2022 Olympics.More >>
Powered by Frankly