Lviv officials have announced the Ukrainian city’s bid to host the 2022 winter Olympic Games is to be put on hold until after national presidential elections have taken place on May 25.
The city is up against Beijing in China, the Norwegian capital of Oslo, Almaty in Kazakhstan and the Polish city of Krakow. A shortlist of cities is due to be drawn up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July while a host city is due to be announced next year.
Lviv, which played host to a number of games in the Uefa Euro 2012 national team football event, is located in the west of Ukraine, but its bid has been thrown into doubt due to Russia’s occupation of parts of the country. Tensions have risen in the mainly Russian-speaking part of Ukraine since the overthrow of Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych and the installation of a pro-European government, which has since said the occupation is part of a Russian-led plan to split the country.
It is hoped that the national presidential elections will ease tensions in the country and the Lviv 2022 committee has opted to delay its bid until after voting day. “We have agreed with the IOC that we will meet as soon as possible to discuss whether our bid is still able to fulfil our commitments, and to realise our dream of hosting the Olympic winter Games, a dream that is now more important than ever,” officials said in a statement to the Reuters news agency.
“The Lviv 2022 bid committee, together with all interested stakeholders and parties, has done everything in its power to prepare a strong application file despite the difficult circumstances. But our Olympic dream is currently on hold due to the current circumstances in Ukraine and at least until after the presidential elections on May 25. This is why the Lviv 2022 bid team has minimised its operations and suspended promotional and media activities until the successful solution of the current challenges facing Ukraine.
“We remain convinced about the positive effects, both economically and socially, that a bid as well as the organisation of the Olympic and Paralympic winter Games would have for Ukraine. Our concept is based on 'true need' and has great potential to accelerate the long-term development of Lviv, the whole region and country.”