|Some 1,000 young athletes will join the first Winter YOG. (Getty Images)
(ATR) Less than two weeks ahead of the deadline to nominate Winter Youth Olympic Games hosts, only one city is known to be in the running, though five have expressed interest.
Innsbruck, Austria will submit a questionnaire to the International Olympic Committee by the Mar. 6 deadline. The other four cities – numbered by Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli – are yet unknown.
The Olympic committees for the U.S., Canada and Switzerland confirm they will not nominate a 2012 Winter YOG city. Japan will concentrate on the Tokyo 2016 bid, and Russia is likely to be busy with preparations for Sochi. The Munich 2018 bid may deter Germany from a YOG bid.
This leaves Latvia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Norway as countries with luge tracks.
However, the IOC did not make having a luge track part of the criteria for bidding. IOC documents explain that the seven sports on the 2010 Vancouver schedule will be contested "provided that the venues allow for it." That clause may mean cities without a sliding center can still aim for the Games.
IOC member Rene Fasel, president of the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, acknowledges that luge competitions may be held in a different venue or country than the rest of the YOG.
|Innsbruck, Austria undertook a study on hosting the Winter YOG as early as January 2008. (Getty Images)
countries in Europe plus Chile, New Zealand, and South Korea have the ice and snow facilities to pitch to the IOC.
The IOC would not comment on the bidding process, only saying that they will release the list of nominated cities on Mar. 7.
The nomination process has been underway for one month. On Jan. 23, the IOC sent letters to all national Olympic committees with details on how to help a city bid for the Games.
Venue requirements are similar to the Summer YOG: no new venues are to be built, and capacity may be modest. The IOC's largest requirement is that the ice hockey venue seat at least 3,000. The Youth Olympic Village must house some 1,500 people.
At the end of March, the IOC will hold a workshop for candidate cities; candidature files will be due June 19. If necessary, a short list will come out in August, followed by an IOC evaluation report at the end of October. The IOC Executive board will cut down the short list in November for a postal vote by IOC members. The result will be released in December, 2008. Written by Maggie Lee
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