(ATR) A possible bid to return the Winter Olympic Games to Turin in 2026 is mired in a political quagmire.
Turin hosted 2006 Winter Games (ATR)
The Turin city council was supposed to discuss a proposal for a bid on Monday but the assembly session couldn’t meet because it failed to reach a quorum for the first time since the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) came into power in 2016, according to the Italian news agency ANSA
A split within the M5S meant several councilors of the ruling party skipped the session in addition to some opposition party members.
Mayor Chaiara Appendino says the lack of debate won’t stop her from issuing a “manifestation of interest” for hosting the Winter Games in 2026, 20 years after the city first held the event.
"On Wednesday, we will show the city's interest with a letter to CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee)," she was quoted by ANSA
as saying. Then, when the IOC makes its conditions known by July, "at that point we'll decide what to do".
Appendino made it clear that the city is not bidding yet. But the administration in Turin is already showing more interest in the Olympics than their M5S counterparts in Rome.
Mayor Virginia Raggi torpedoed the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games when she refused to support it after she was elected on an anti-Olympics platform in 2016.
Should Turin jump into the bidding process, the city could face opposition from within its own country. Luca Zaia, the president of Veneto, tells Gazzetta dello Sport
that a joint bid between his region and Trentino-Alto Adige is being discussed.
But on Tuesday the prospect of such an endeavor appeared to dissipate as ANSA
reported that the provincial government of Bolzano, a part of Alto Adige, said no to a potential bid by the Dolomites.
Lillehammer hosted the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016 (ATR)
The mayor of Lillehammer raised hopes last week that the 1994 Winter Games hosts could be entering the race for either 2026 or 2030, according to the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.
Lillehammer, which also hosted the 2016 Youth Winter Olympic Games, would be part of a regional Norwegian bid this time around.
Time is running short for any new bids to get into the race for 2026. Interested cities must enter the dialogue phase of the process by March 31.
Four cities are officially entered into the process at this point, including Calgary, Sapporo, Stockholm and Sion, Switzerland.
The Sion bid received a boost on Friday when officials of the city’s home canton of Valais voted to support the 2026 bid by 101 to 22, with five abstentions. The decision means the canton confirmed financial support of 100 million Swiss francs ($105 million).
The Swiss Federal Council gave its backing to Sion in October, pledging the equivalent of about $1 billion to the cause.
Final government approvals still remain but bid organizers tell Around the Rings
the biggest hurdle for the bid is not the politicians. The project must pass muster with the voters in Valais in a referendum to be held June 10. Sion 2026 organizers are currently presenting their case through a series of informational meetings being held throughout the canton.
Written by Gerard Farek
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