Voters in canton Graubünden have rejected a proposal to host the Winter Olympics in 2026. It’s the second such bid to be turned down at the ballot box in four years.
This time, the proposal failed with about 40% for and 60% against a CHF25 million ($25.2 million) financial contribution that would have allowed the canton to prepare a bid for the Winter Games nine years from now.
The local government and the business community campaigned for the Olympic bid, saying such a major event would boost tourism and help renew the region’s infrastructure. But critics of the plan, notably from the political left, said the campaign was too opaque and one-sided in favour of funding the bid.
Graubünden’s was one of two possible Swiss bids for the 2026 Winter Games. The other comes from a group of cantons in western Switzerland looking to hold the games in Sion (in canton Valais) as well as in Fribourg, Vaud and Bern.
SwissOlympic, the country’s umbrella organisation for Olympic Games, will decide in March whether to officially recommend that bid for consideration.
Finally, delegates will decide in April whether to move forward with the Sion bid, which would then be submitted to the International Olympic Committee as a candidate.
Graubünden staged the Winter Olympics in St Moritz in 1928 and 1948, but in 1980 and in 2013 voters rejected proposals for another bid. On Sunday, the 2026 bid was rejected more resoundingly than the vote four years ago, when 52% of voters said no.
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