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Innsbruck enters the fray for 2026 winter Olympics

The Austrian Olympic Committee (AOC) has said it will conduct a feasibility study into a bid to return the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to the city of Innsbruck for a third time in 2026.

The study will cost €350,000 ($385,000) and will be jointly financed by the AOC, the City of Innsbruck and the Austrian government. Austria has staged the winter Games on two occasions, in 1964 and 1976, with Innsbruck playing host on both occasions.

AOC president Karl Stoss said: “The International Olympic Committee – at the top with (president) Thomas Bach – has clearly signalled to us in several discussions that applications from traditional winter sports strongholds that have decades of experience in the hosting of major events are high on the popularity list. The new leadership in the IOC wants affordable, well-organised Games that are supported by the population. Innsbruck is predestined for a sustainable, likeable Games, as was proven at the 2012 Youth (Olympic) Games.”

Interest in bidding for the 2026 Games has already been expressed by Stockholm, Sweden and four regions in Switzerland – as well as Calgary, Canada; 2022 bid runner-up Almaty, Kazakhstan and Sapporo, Japan. Hosting rights are set to be awarded in 2019.

Governor for the state of Tyrol, Günther Platter, added: “Firstly, we want to know whether the Olympic region of Tyrol is ever able to host these Games in 2026. The first commandment is sustainability, as it is for other major sporting events in the past and in the future in Tyrol. Megalomania is alien to us. The Games have to be downsized to a financially, environmentally and socially acceptable level. Such an event must simultaneously provide a significant added value for the population and opportunities for further development of the Tyrol region.”