Stockholm Åre 2026 secures key government backing for Olympic bid

The Stockholm Åre 2026 bid for the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games has today (Tuesday) secured the crucial backing of the Swedish government as it prepares to enter its candidature file with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The file needs to be lodged by Friday and the lack of firm government backing had been a major question mark against Stockholm Åre 2026’s effort. However, Sweden’s Sports Minister Amanda Lind today declared that this support would now be forthcoming, allowing Stockholm Åre 2026 to meet its commitments to the IOC.

Lind told Swedish broadcaster TV4: “It would be great for Sweden if it was to host an Olympic Games. For the entire sports movement, it would be a huge boost. As a sports minister I am glad that we have been able to give this message. The government was united behind the decision.”

She added: “If we get the Olympic Games then it would be very strengthening, but also very positive in the way SOK (Swedish Olympic Committee) and the Swedish Paralympic Committee plan the Olympics, to be able to show that one can do it without expensive new buildings, in as far as possible, a sustainable and climate-smart way. It would be a way for Sweden to show how sports events can take place in the future.”

Government guarantees are required by the IOC to support the hosting of an Olympic Games. On Friday, the Italian government officially signed guarantees in support of the Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo bid to host the 2026 Games, while Latvia’s Prime Minister also declared his backing for the country’s role in Stockholm’s effort to land the events. Sigulda has been earmarked to host the sliding events, should Sweden secure the 2026 Games.

Stockholm Åre 2026 bid chief executive Richard Brisius conceded that while government backing has taken a while to arrive, the confirmation will serve as a major boost as the Swedish and Italian bids look towards the IOC vote in Lausanne on June 24.

Brisius said: “This message was a very important milestone in the work that has been going on for a long time and which has involved many people for many years. The government’s support is central to both the actual support in the form of the security work, but also because this is something that will gather together the whole of Sweden.”

He added: “We have had continuous positive contact for two years with many people in politics, in the parliament, in the government and representatives from there. We have let each one of them take a stand and create their own opinion of what they think.

“We have not tried to push this in any way but we have informed. We have many wise and smart people among our politicians who have realised the value of this and realised that this fits for Sweden and that we can make a change. A change not only for Sweden, but also for the Olympic Movement going forward.”