(ATR) Stockholm 2026 bid chief tells Around the Rings
a Winter Olympics in Sweden is “tailor-made to the new reality of the IOC”.
Speaking to ATR
on the sidelines of the Youth Olympics, Richard Brisius said the IOC’s reforms and New Norm measures, aimed at reducing Games costs and increasing flexibility, had opened the door for Sweden.
Earlier this week, the IOC Session approved bids from the Swedish capital, Calgary and a joint bid from Italy to enter the shortened candidature phase of the 2026 race which concludes next June.
“We keep working hard now preparing our candidature file,” he said, saying the IOC’s refined, lower-cost concept for the Winter Games “fits us perfectly. That’s us, that’s Sweden”.
While Calgary’s 2026 quest hinges on a November public vote, Stockholm has no such worries, although backing from Sweden’s new coalition government remains a hurdle ahead.
Brisius said public engagement around the bid is paying off. “What we do continuously is that we are super transparent with what we are doing to all stakeholders… politicians, businesses, to the people of Sweden and civil society. We keep informing, telling people what is happening and then people can make up their mind,” he said.
The Stockholm 2026 bid leader said the Olympism in Action Forum in Buenos Aires had offered many insights, including how the future of the Olympics “belongs to the next generation”.
“What we see in the polls in Stockholm, those who are most behind an Olympics and Paralympics are the young people, the ones under 30… more than 70 percent saying ‘go for it, go for it’. So that is very positive for the future,” he said.
With Sweden’s high-profile IOC member Gunilla Lindberg championing Stockholm’s 2026 effort, the bid is feeling the benefits as the contest steps up a gear.
“We are very fortunate to have Gunilla as part of the bid because she is so professional and so conscious about the Olympic Movement,” said Brisius. “Her primary goal is make this right for the Olympic Movement and when she says ‘this is good, I am really behind this bid’ it means a lot to us.”
Bid CEO Richard Brisius (ATR)
next February’s Alpine World Ski Championships will keep Sweden’s major event hosting capabilities in the minds of the IOC voters who will decide the host city next June.
“It is significant because it brings even more attention to Sweden as a great host of winter sports events and for sure we will learn from hosting it,” he said. “We will have more experience and we can learn from that and develop something even better for 2026.”
Under Olympic bid plans, Alpine skiing events would be hosted some 300km from Stockholm, while sliding events would take place at the Sigulda sliding track in Latvia, a move that has gained the support of the IOC’s Olympic Games department in recent months.
Brisius promised the “spread out” concept would still lead to “a wonderful experience for the Olympic Movement”.
“For us it’s very important to organize things efficiently, seamlessly and smooth. Whether a certain distance or not, we will ensure that distance is just a great experience,” he added.
Using already existing facilities, with almost no new building projects, Stockholm 2026 emphasizes a sustainable and financially robust concept.
“We are convinced that Sweden and Stockholm will hold a world-class winter games – an Olympics that is sustainable in all respects, not least economically,” Mats Årjes, president of the Swedish Olympic Committee, commented after the IOC this week approved Stockholm’s candidature.
“The Games should not demand tax payers’ money – on the contrary, they should provide added value. We will not need to make investments in new stadiums as Sweden already has all of the necessary competition venues.
“We also have the necessary roads, railways, airports and hotels, with almost no need to build new facilities.”
“The new values on which the Winter Olympics and Paralympics are to be based, and the fact that Sweden and Stockholm will not be required to make major investments in order to host the Games, mean that we will be able to create the most sustainable winter games at the lowest budget for over 30 years,” he added.
Next for Stockholm and its two rival bids are preparations for a presentation to the ANOC general assembly in Tokyo at the end of November.
Written by Mark Bisson with reporting from Brian Pinelli in Buenos Aires
For general comments or questions, click here.
25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.