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  • Argentina Exploring 2026 Winter Olympics Bid


    10/31/18

    (ATR) Another country is lining up a future Olympic bid with one eye on the current 2026 Winter Olympic bid cycle.

    Gerardo Werthein at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (ATR)
    Today, the Argentina Olympic Committee said it is beginning a feasibility study into determining if Buenos Aires, and Ushuaia could jointly host a Winter Olympics.

    “With the prospect of a potential future candidacy for the 2030 Winter Olympics, we are able to assess in a responsible manner a joint candidacy for the 2026 Winter Olympics in the case the opportunity surges”, Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, said in a statement.

    A joint Buenos Aires/Ushuaia bid would come with plenty of caveats, first that no Winter Olympics has ever been held in the Southern Hemisphere. Traditionally, the Winter Games are held in February to correspond with the Northern Hemisphere winter, which would be in the middle of the summer months in Argentina.

    The Argentina Olympic Committee says that Buenos Aires would hold ice events, which all occur indoors. During February, the average daily temperature in Buenos Aires is 74.5 degrees Fahrenheit (23.6 degrees Celsius).

    Ushuaia would host snow events for a potential Winter Olympics. In February the average temperature is 48.7 degrees Fahrenheit (9.3 degrees Celsius).

    A Buenos Aires/Ushuaia bid comes after the successful hosting of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in the Argentine capital. After the event was finished Werthein told reporters that the governor of Ushuaia was studying the possibility of hosting the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games. IOC President Thomas Bach said that Buenos Aires could easily be considered a bidding city for the 2032 Summer Olympics, should the country explore a bid.

    Werthein's explicit reference to the 2026 Winter Olympic bid race adds a new wrinkle to a bidding cycle thrown into flux. The Calgary City Council voted to barely keep its 2026 bid alive before citizens vote on the project on November 13. A last-minute funding proposal could kept the bid alive before the vote.

    The other two candidates Milan/Cortina and Stockholm are still working to secure government support, a requirement for a viable bid. Stockholm’s newly elected city council withdrew support for the bid, although sport leaders say they will work with the new council to save it. So far, Milan/Cortina do not have the backing of the Italian federal government for any potential financing needs.

    Ushuaia, Argentina (Wikimedia Commons)
    For Argentina to enter the 2026 Winter Olympics race it would need the IOC to reopen the candidature procedure. The IOC to this point has not signaled it is willing to do so, and has reiterated there is no “plan b” to the current candidature phase.

    The AOC said in its statement the IOC “has been informed about the feasibility study of a potential candidacy for the 2026 Winter Olympics”.

    Argentina is not the only country keeping an eye on the 2026 race if it falls apart. The United States Olympic Committee said yesterday that it was preparing to select a “future Winter Olympics” bid city by the end of the year.

    At its last board meeting the USOC said it is exploring a future Olympic bid “in connection with the 2026 and 2030 Games in particular”. If a city is chosen by the end of the year, that would allow it to submit a candidature file for 2026 before the IOC’s January deadline in the current process.

    USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said yesterday that it is currently “not involved in the 2026 campaign” even as it selects a future bid city.

    “Our current process is to identify a U.S. city is related to a future Games with multiple cities involved in those discussions,” Sandusky said.

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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