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Barcelona decides against bid for 2026 winter Olympics

The Spanish city of Barcelona has elected not to pursue a bid for the 2026 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games after deciding it did not have enough time to develop a winning proposition.

Barcelona hosted the summer Olympics in 1992 and a bid for the winter Games has long been on the cards. However, dropping a proposed bid for the 2026 Games was one of the main priorities of the governing alternative left and green alliance, ‘Barcelona en Comú’, when it assumed power in May 2015.

Barcelona’s City Hall government has now confirmed that it will not pursue the 2026 Olympics. The Catalan News Agency (CAN) reported that Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor, Jordi Collboni, said the decision responded “to the current social and economic circumstances not only in Barcelona but in the whole country”.

He also claimed that failure in a bidding contest could damage Barcelona’s reputation as an Olympic city, after the success of the 1992 Games. “If we submit an application we want it to be the winning option,” he said, adding that the candidacy “must have full political and social support”.

CAN said the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, left wing pro-independence party ERC and the Democratic Group backed the decision based on conclusions by the committee responsible for analysing the candidacy. The Catalan People’s Party (PPC) and radical left pro-independence CUP were not part of the committee.

However, officials have said they would be interested in pursuing a bid for the 2030 Games. Collboni stated that a Barcelona bid encompassing resorts in the Pyrenees mountain range could benefit from the International Olympic Committee’s new criteria for bidding for and hosting Games, adding that in future years the Olympics “would have to adapt to the cities and not the other way round”.