(ATR) Swedish Olympic Committee president Mats Årjes says this week’s ski championships in Åre are showcasing the country’s Olympic credentials.
Åre would host alpine ski events should Sweden win 2026 bid (Getty Images)
The ski resort Åre was included in the Stockholm 2026 candidature file submitted to the IOC last month under Sweden’s attempt to secure its first Winter Olympics.
The Swedish Olympic Committee chief, who has attended competitions in Åre over the past few days, said Tuesday that the resort’s successful hosting of the FIS Alpine worlds was an important moment for the bid ahead of the IOC’s 2026 host city election in June.
Åre is widely regarded as a world-class winter sports venue, having hosted over 100 elite competitions over the years.
Årjes said the experience of delivering elite sporting competition on a global scale will aid Sweden’s Winter Games bid: “This is an extremely important opportunity to show the traditions we have in Sweden of organising competitions in all of the disciplines covered by the Winter Games.
“We have the world figure skating championship [in Stockholm, 2021], we’re arranging the ice hockey world championship. There are very few winter sports in which we haven’t arranged a world championship.”
He added: “I hope and believe that sustainability, which is clearly an important part of any future Olympic Games, is given the place it deserves.
“The World Cup in Åre is a great example of that, because we’ve basically used 100 percent of what was used in 2007 for the World Cup – and that’s exactly how it should be in the Olympics, too.”
Swedish Olympic Committee president Mats Årjes (SOK)
Åre joins Stockholm, Falun and Sigulda, Latvia as proposed venues for the bid.
Last week marked seven years until the proposed opening of a Stockholm 2026 Winter Olympics – and Årjes wants Sweden to show what it can do on the world’s biggest stage.
“I really believe that this would be a great opportunity for our country to show how good we are – both in hosting big events, and also how we think about sustainability issues,” he said. “The proposal to the IOC is a really fascinating study as we have many existing facilities that can be used – and that’s what the Olympics is about, and what the IOC wants to communicate.”
IOC members will choose between Stockholm-Åre and Milan-Cortina for the 2026 Olympics at the Session in Lausanne on June 24.
But with key milestones ahead of that date, both are busy ratcheting up their bid campaigns.
The IOC’s 2026 evaluation commission visits Sweden and Italy in March and April respectively to assess their bids in a series of meetings and venue tours.
Both bids will send delegations to SportAccord in Gold Coast, Australia to present to the summer federations and seek to lock up a few IOC votes.
A Stockholm bid spokesman tells Around the Rings
that their delegation will comprise “very few people”, likely to reduce costs. No decision has yet been made on which officials will go.
The IOC’s 2026 Olympic host city decision comes a day after it opens its new $200 million headquarters in Lausanne. The five-story, 17-meters high Olympic House has a footprint of 18,000 square meters.
The new HQ will bring all 600 IOC employees, currently spread around four different offices in Lausanne, together on one site.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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