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Quebec City drops 2026 Olympics bid plan

Quebec City has dropped plans to bid to host the 2026 winter Olympic Games after its Mayor decided the chances of the Canadian city winning were too slim.

Régis Labeaume made the announcement yesterday (Thursday) at a news conference and confirmed that he had discussed the matter with the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee prior to making the decision.

Labeaume said other proposed bids, namely one being drawn up by Switzerland, would hold an advantage over any proposal from Quebec. The presidents of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) are part of the team aiming to deliver the 2026 winter Games to Switzerland, something Labeaume felt would prove critical once the bidding process got underway.

“Our conclusion was that we didn’t have great chances of getting the Games,” Labeaume said, according to Canadian broadcaster CBC. “Having the Olympics in Quebec would take skiing. But how can I negotiate a technical solution to this (the lack of an Olympic-level mountain near Quebec City) at the International Ski Federation when its president supports Switzerland?”

Labeaume in March said that Quebec would consider sharing events with fellow Canadian cities Calgary and Vancouver, as well as the US resort of Lake Placid, should it go ahead with its bid. Last month, Labeaume met with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Switzerland to discuss such a bid. Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall had admitted he would be open to a co-hosting agreement.

However, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) quickly moved to quash talk of a joint bid, stating that its full focus was on bringing the 2024 summer Games to Los Angeles. Calgary staged the winter Games in 1988, while Vancouver played host in 2010. The event has never been staged in Quebec City.

PyeongChang in South Korea will host the next edition in 2018, before the event travels to the Chinese capital of Beijing in 2022. The IOC will select the winning city for the 2026 Games in 2019.

As yet, there have been no official proposals for the staging of the 2026 Games, although the Swiss Olympic Committee is pursuing a bid with a number of proposals on the table. The Committee last month moved forward with plans to launch a bid for the 2026 Olympics, with president Jörg Schild stating a strong proposal from a region that also has national support is crucial in the endeavour.

The Committee in March called on cities to express an interest in representing the country in a bid, with cities and regions invited to a meeting held last month in Lausanne. At the meeting it was decided that further workshops will be held in June and October, with a view to reaching a decision on which project to back for a formal bid in September 2017.