Five Swiss bids in sprint for 2026 Olympics

The Winter Games would be a prestige project for Switzerland Keystone

Five projects are in the running to be the Swiss host of the 2026 Winter Olympics, Swiss Olympics has announced. These candidatures were handed in by the May 31 deadline.

This content was published on June 1, 2016 - 12:57 and agencies

The Swiss sporting body is aiming to bring the Winter Games back to the Alpine nation for the first time since 1948.

The five bids in question are the so-called ‘Swiss Made Winter Games’ (a joint effort by western cantons), ‘Olympic Winter Games 2026 Graubünden and partners’, ‘Central Switzerland 2026’, ‘Switzerland 2026’ and ‘2026 - Games for our future’ (both projects reuniting several regions), said Swiss Olympic on Wednesday.

They will take part in a national nomination process to find the best quality bid for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics 2026.

“It’s with great satisfaction that we can see that the process that we have started has attracted projects which are, from the very beginning, of great quality,” said Jörg Schild, Swiss OlympicExternal link’s president. “We are now going to work together to refine and strengthen them to build more than just a simple candidacy. We want a real national project for the future of our country.”

These would be the first major Winter Olympics to be held in Switzerland since 1948 in St Moritz. Previous attempts to galvanise local interest all failed over fears about the financial and environmental costs.

A Swiss Olympic task force will now evaluate the candidates before making a final decision by September 2017 on whether to file an official candidacy with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). But the timetable is extremely tight as beforehand the local population must also have its say.

If a Swiss candidate is finally put forward, the IOC will pick the winning bid in 2019.

Swiss Winter Games
St Moritz has hosted the Winter Games twice: in 1928 and in 1948.

A number of Swiss candidacies have collapsed in recent years. The biggest failure was perhaps for Sion, the capital of canton Valais, which lost the battle for the 2006 Winter Games to Turin.

Other projects in Graubünden, Bern, Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva failed because of local opposition or because the Swiss Olympic Committee refused to back them.

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