Switzerland wants to bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, pledging to spread venues across the country and avoid new construction in order to win over skeptical locals who’ve rejected past attempts to host the Games.
(Bloomberg) — Switzerland wants to bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, pledging to spread venues across the country and avoid new construction in order to win over skeptical locals who’ve rejected past attempts to host the Games.
The plan is to keep the budget in line with expected revenues of 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6 billion), officials said in a briefing on Wednesday. If the bid were successful, it could be the first time a country, as opposed to a city, is tasked to organize the Games.
Switzerland’s so-called sport parliament, made up of primarily of delegates from local sport federations, will vote on Nov. 24 whether to approve the bid. The International Olympic Committee, will then choose next summer the hosts for the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games.
Traditionally, a country is chosen to organize the games about seven years before the event, but the IOC is trying to make the selection process less of a competition and more of a dialog. It’s also a nod to the reduced local enthusiasm seen of late.
Switzerland hosted the Games in 1928 and 1948, both times in the upscale resort of St. Moritz, but citizens have shown little appetite in recent years. Local votes rejected three attempts to organize Olympics in different parts of the country between 2013 and 2018.
This time officials are convinced that they will have popular support. Two out of three Swiss would support a bid in a referendum, according to a poll conducted last August.
Keeping new infrastructure to a minimum is key to keep the population on board. The plan is for Lausanne, home to the IOC, and Swiss capital Bern to hold the opening and closing ceremonies, with other events spread across cities like Zurich and Zug as well as mountain resorts including Crans-Montana, St. Moritz and Kandersteg.
Venues already exist for all events other than long-track speed-skating. But rather than build one, officials said they’d look to have a neighboring country host those events.
“The time frame is tight but that also works in our favor as there are few countries that have the infrastructure already in place,” Urs Lehmann, president of the Swiss Ski Association, told reporters during the briefing.
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