The trend for the Winter Olympics moving further east in to the far east of Europe and in to Eastern Asia for each Games from 2014 to 2022 may come to an end in 2026 if one of six of the seven countries that have expressed an interest in hosting the Games is successful in their efforts.
That’s because four of the potential hosts are in Europe, one in North America and of the two interested countries in asia, only former hosts Sapporo in Japan are in the far east of the continent.
The National Olympic Committees of Austria (Graz), Italy (Cortina), Sweden (Stockholm) and Switzerland (Sion) make up the four European contenders, with 1988 hosts Calgary in Canada the sole possible North American candidate and Erzurum in Turkey the other Asian interested party.
The group of countries are potentially the first to benefit from a new approach by the IOC designed to make the bidding process more transparent, the costs of staging the Games less and ensure a better legacy for the host destination.
The move follows the result of the bidding process for the 2022 Games, won by China, which saw all but two candidate nations pull out before the IOC made its host decision, due to public concern about costs in some countries and lack of confidence in the process itself in others.
It’s not yet clear how many of the seven candidates will move forward to bid to host the Games, several are still deciding with Sion one that will hold a public referendum in June on whether to bid or not.