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Sapporo, Salt Lake City, Barcelona in running for 2030 Winter Olympics

The Olympic Rings sit on display outside the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Headquarters on January 11, 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee has confirmed it is in talks with Sapporo, Salt Lake City and Barcelona about hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee announced the three candidates at its session on Friday in Lausanne, where the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics have just got underway. NBC Sports reported that Octavian Morariu, chair of the IOC Future Host Commission for Winter Games, said there had been dialogue with “a number of interested parties” over the last two years, and named the three cities.

Morariu did not mention Lillehammer in Norway, which has previously been mooted as a bidder. NBC reported that he also said Spain’s Olympic Committee “is yet to finalise its wish to enter into dialogue with the IOC”.

Sapporo mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto met IOC president Thomas Bach on Saturday to discuss the city’s bid. Bach last week expressed confidence the Japanese city would make a strong bid, after being forced to withdraw from the bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics. The meeting was also attended by Japanese Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto and Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita, who was elected as a member of the IOC the previous day.

The Japan Times reported that Akimoto said: “President Bach spoke favourably (of the bid). Together with the JOC, I want to proceed to the dialogue stage with the IOC.”

Spanish news website Euro Weekly News reported that Barcelona’s bid involves hosting skiing events in the nearby Pyrenees mountain range, with some events possibly in the principality of Andorra. Last year, Catalan newspaper El Nacional reported that officials from Barcelona had discussed working with Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a joint bid.