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France, USA lined up to host Winter Olympics in 2030, 2034

Featured image credit: Shinnosuke Ando on Unsplash

The French Alps and Salt Lake City have emerged as the frontrunners to host the 2030 and 2034 editions of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games after being invited into targeted dialogues by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Following a recommendation by the IOC’s future Host Commission for the Winter Olympics, the IOC Executive Board has invited the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) into targeted dialogues for the two events.

More detailed discussions will now take place with the preferred hosts, with the aim of awarding both editions at the 142nd IOC Session in July in Paris.

The IOC Executive Board has also granted the non-edition-specific Switzerland 203x project a special status by inviting it into “privileged dialogue” for the 2038 Winter Olympics. Switzerland had been interested in hosting the 2030 or 2034 Games, while Sweden was also eyeing a bid for the 2030 event.

The IOC approved the principle of a potential double allocation of the 2030 and 2034 Games back in October. The decision was taken to bring “security” for the event in climate-reliable host regions and allowed the IOC time to reflect on the long-term future of the Games.

Explaining its decision to enter into a targeted dialogue with the CNOSF for the 2030 Games, the IOC cited the proposal’s vision to renew the north and south Alps as winter sports destinations as a key reason.

The IOC also commended the French bid’s alignment with Olympic Agenda 2020/Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the concept of four venue clusters, France’s experience of hosting winter sports events, practices developed for next year’s summer Games in Paris, and strong support from the private sector, the public, and national and regional government.

The IOC said its main reasons for selecting the USOPC and Salt Lake City for the 2034 Games were the bid team’s vision to build on the legacy of the 2002 Winter Games in the city, alignment with Olympic Agenda 2020/Olympic Agenda 2020+5, a compact venue plan, experience in hosting winter sports events, strong public and government support, and the fact that no significant capital investment is required.

Regarding the decision to invite Switzerland 203x into privileged dialogue for the 2038 Games, the IOC praised the project’s “good fundamentals” including existing venues, experience in hosting winter sports, and its role as host country of the IOC and other international federations.

Although the IOC has decided not to engage in discussions with the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) over a future Winter Games, it praised a proposal which presented a vision to stage the “most sustainable Games in history”.

The IOC ultimately said that the Swedish bid did not have all the elements required to be taken further at this stage. SOK chairman Hans von Uthmann said that he was “incredibly disappointed” that the IOC would not be entering talks about hosting the Games in Sweden.

Karl Stoss, chair of the Future Host Commission for the Winter Olympics, said: “What really stood out about the French Alps and Salt Lake City-Utah projects was their vision for the athlete experience, their alignment with regional and national socio-economic development plans, and their very strong support from the public and from all levels of government.

“The Commission felt strongly that the other interested parties would benefit from more time to optimise the athlete experience of their future Games, and to continue to build on their burgeoning foundations of public and political support. Switzerland 203x has great potential, with its project aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the principles of sustainability, cost reduction, environmental protection and legacy.”

If Switzerland is selected to host the Winter Olympics in 2038, it would mean that 2042 is the earliest possible date that the event could return to Asia. The last two editions took place in Asia, with Pyeongchang hosting in 2018 and Beijing staging in 2022. The 2026 Games will be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy.