KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The International Olympic Committee has adopted the multi host award system for its Winter Games through the 1930s.

A decision by a meeting of the executive board followed through on the direct methodology of the summer Games award to Brisbane in 2032 but also with an eye to capitalising on the availability of host bids for the always-delicate winter slot.

It will now be down to the bids from Salt Lake City and from the French Alps – including ice events in Nice of all places – to firm up all the details for 2030 and who lands 2034. Beyond these two awards a declared Swiss interest “will be granted special status” in pursuing the Winter Olympic Games for 2038.

A formal decision on 2030 and 2034 will be taken by the IOC Session on the eve of the summer Games in Paris next summer. The IOC prefers to see a French staging in 2030 and Salt Lake in 2034 so as not to have two successive Olympics in the United States after the summer Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

Ultimately this may rest on the French swiftly “doing their homework,” as Games director Christophe Duby put it.

Speculation had surrounded a possible bid from Sapporo but local issues prevented the Japanese Olympic Committee from following through with a formal expression of interest.

The 2026 Winter Games will be staged in Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo.

IOC member Karl Stoss who chairs the Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, said: “The Commission members were deeply impressed by all the projects’ technical excellence, passion for Olympic winter sport and commitment to the sustainability principles of Olympic Agenda 2020+5.”

He added: “What really stood out about the French Alps and Salt Lake City-Utah projects was their vision for the athlete experience, their alignment with regional and national socio-economic development plans, and their very strong support from the public and from all levels of government.

“The Commission felt strongly that the other Interested Parties would benefit from more time to optimise the athlete experience of their future Games, and to continue to build on their burgeoning foundations of public and political support.

“Switzerland 203x has great potential, with its project aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the principles of sustainability, cost reduction, environmental protection and legacy.”

IOC statement

An explanatory statement from the IOC said:

Following a recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, the IOC Executive Board (EB) today invited the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) into Targeted Dialogues towards hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2030 in the French Alps, and the 2034 edition in Salt Lake City-Utah.

The IOC will now start more detailed discussions with the Preferred Hosts, led by their National Olympic Committees (NOCs), with the aim of awarding both editions at the 142nd IOC Session in July in Paris.

In addition, the IOC EB decided to grant the non-edition-specific project, Switzerland 203x, a special status by inviting it into “Privileged Dialogue” for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2038.

The principle of a potential double allocation of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2030 and 2034 was approved by the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India, in October. This decision, which had the full support of the Presidents of the Winter Olympic International Federations, was taken to bring security for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in climate-reliable host regions. This allows the IOC time to reflect on the long-term future of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, given the preliminary results of studies it has commissioned on the impact of climate change.

The Future Host Commission met in Lausanne earlier this month, and the NOCs of Interested Parties with a current interest in hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games presented their projects to the Commission.

The Commission based its consensual decision on these presentations and on feasibility assessments the IOC had carried out on each Interested Party. These assessments reflect information gathered throughout Continuous Dialogue through regular meetings and workshops, together with the sharing of information by each Interested Party.

In accordance with Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC also took into account detailed information from independent third-party sources, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and numerous UN agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Independent opinion polls, commissioned by the IOC, were also considered.

The main reasons why the French Alps and CNOSF were proposed for the Targeted Dialogue were:

The vision to renew the north and south Alps as winter sports destinations by transitioning to a more sustainable tourism strategy for winter sports in the context of climate change
Alignment with Olympic Agenda 2020/Olympic Agenda 2020+5, and existing socio-economic development plans in both regions, exemplified by making maximum use of existing venues
The concept for four clusters, each of which would offer the opportunity for a unique Games experience in the Olympic spirit
France’s very good experience in organising and hosting major international events in most Olympic winter sports, including the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel and Méribel in February this year
The structures, laws, skills and best practices developed for Paris 2024
Strong support from:
The private sector, with several domestic partners of Paris 2024 having indicated their interest in extending their support to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2030
The public (68 per cent support in France)
National government, which has provided a letter of commitment from the President
Regional governments, as evidenced by the Presidents of the two regions who have guaranteed the Games budget, based on votes in the regional parliaments.
The main reasons why Salt Lake City-Utah and the USOPC were proposed for the Targeted Dialogue were:
The vision to build on the positive legacies of the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002 and increase the existing Games Legacy Fund, in order to extend the lifecycle of numerous venues and sports programmes
Alignment with Olympic Agenda 2020/Olympic Agenda 2020+5, drawing on 100 per cent existing venues, which are well maintained thanks to the 2002 Legacy Fund
No significant capital investment required
The very compact masterplan, with all competition venues within one hour of the main Olympic Village in Salt Lake City, offering a unique opportunity for an exceptional athlete experience
Excellent experience within the US in organising and hosting major international events in most Olympic winter sports
Strong support from:
The public (exceptional support of over 80 per cent in Utah)
National government, with full support evidenced in letters of commitment
State and city governments, demonstrated by guarantee letters and State legislation for both the 2030 and 2034 Games, including the underwriting of the Games Operational Budget by the State of Utah
Given the studies commissioned by the IOC on the potential impact of climate change on winter sports, Salt Lake City-Utah provides an opportunity to secure a traditional winter sports and climate-reliable destination well in advance of the Games.
Please find here the full IOC feasibility assessments for the French Alps and Salt Lake City-Utah.

The decision to invite Switzerland 203x into Privileged Dialogue is based on the very good fundamentals of the Swiss project, as presented to the Future Host Commission and discussed by the IOC EB. These are: the many existing venues; the great experience of Switzerland in hosting international winter sport events; and its role as host country of the IOC and many International Sports Federations. The vision of 203x includes interest in future Games up to 2038.

During the Privileged Dialogue, the IOC will not engage in discussions with other potential hosts for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2038. In this exclusive dialogue, the IOC will ask the Interested Party to address some of the areas of the project which still require further discussion, mainly: the distribution of the venues; the funding strategy; the guarantees; and public support. The Privileged Dialogue, which will last to the end of 2027 but could end earlier if the project is ready, will give appropriate time to Switzerland 203x for any required consultation on these and other topics, to complete all the outstanding elements.

Please find here the full IOC feasibility assessment of Switzerland 203x.

In all, the Future Host Commission evaluated four projects. As well as those from the French Alps, Salt Lake City-Utah and Switzerland 203x, there was also a Swedish project, which presented an impressive vision to stage the most sustainable Games in history, but did not have all the elements required to be taken further at this stage. Please find here the full feasibility assessment for this project.

The Future Host Commission will now set a timeline for the Targeted Dialogues, and will report back to the EB on the outcome of these discussions, ahead of the 142nd IOC Session in July in Paris. If all the requirements are met, the EB can then propose a host election to the IOC Session.