(ATR) A feasibility study shows that Innsbruck, Austria could host the 2026 Winter Games for a modest $1.3 billion though any potential bid still must be approved in a public referendum.
Innsbruck, Tyrol and Austria NOC representatives unveil Innsbruck 2026 feasibility study (OOC)
The study, released to the public on Wednesday, keeps costs down by making extensive use of existing venues in Innsbruck, the surrounding Tyrol region of Austria as well as southern Germany. No new permanent sporting structures are needed, with temporary facilities planned for snowboard, freestyle skiing and Big Air snowboard.
The central Olympic Village would be created from an existing urban development project in Innsbruck and would be home to 46 percent of the athletes and officials. The remainder would be housed throughout the region near the venues for their specific sports.
The IOC’s recent proposals to change the bidding process to make it more affordable is a bonus, according to ÖOC President Karl Stoss.
"In the application process for 2026, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will support the candidates much more intensively. The process will be significantly easier and more cost-effective,” Stoss said in a statement.
“With Innsbruck / Tyrol, we have a chance to prove that you can organize a modern games but still in a friendly format using facilities that have long existed, in places that have a tradition of winter sports. With new transport concepts, with several Olympic villages - without gigantism, without white elephants. "
Residents in the Tyrol region will have the final say on whether the bid moves forward. A referendum will be held on October 15 in conjunction with the Austrian parliamentary elections.
Innsbruck hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games (Getty Images)
Innsbruck hosted the Winter Games in 1964 and 1976 but voters in the city torpedoed potential bids for 2002 and 2006 in separate referendums in the 1990’s.
This time could be different, as the entire Tyrol region will be voting rather than just Innsbruck. The city did host the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games.
The $1.3 billion price tag put forth by Innsbruck is considerably less than the $3.47 billion estimate presented by the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) to the Calgary city council on Monday. A final bid decision by the council could come as early as July 24.
Thus far, Switzerland is the only country to officially sign off on 2026 with a bid centered in Sion.
Other cities contemplating a bid for 2026 include former Winter Olympic host cities Lillehammer and Sapporo along with Erzurum, Turkey.
The 2018 and 2022 Winter Games are in Asia, making Europe or North America a more likely spot for 2026.
Written by Gerard Farek
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