Asia again? Sapporo backed by JOC to pursue 2026 Olympics bid
The Japanese Olympic Committee today gave Sapporo formal approval to take part in the bidding process for the 2026 winter Olympics, setting into motion a process that could result in three successive winter games being staged in Asia.
Officials in Sapporo have been talking up a bid for the 2026 Olympics for the past 18 months, but the go-ahead was only given today by the JOC at a board meeting.
Earlier this year, Sapporo, host of the 1972 winter Olympics, submitted plans to the JOC for an Olympic bid costing ¥430 billion ($3.8 billion) to ¥450 billion.
The city, located in Hokkaido Prefecture, plans to announce its intention to bid before the end of March 2018, according to JOC vice-president Eisuke Hiraoka.
The JOC is in the process of organising the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, while the International Olympic Committee would likely prefer a non-Asian bidder for 2026, considering the 2018 (PyeongChang) and 2022 (Beijing) winter games are already heading for the continent.
Last month, the IOC unveiled more details of its planned new candidature process for the 2026 winter Olympic Games.
This includes a one-year non-committal dialogue stage until October 2018 that will provide interested cities and NOCs with an opportunity to engage in a collaboration with the IOC, followed by a shortened formal candidature stage to September 2019 with streamlined procedures.
Candidates will be asked to submit a single candidature file, due in January 2019, with the games to be awarded in Milan in September of that year.
The IOC has already lost Innsbruck from the 2026 race, after voters in the Austrian region of Tyrol rejected the bid in a recent referendum.
Possible bidders for the 2026 games include Sion in Switzerland, USA, Norway, Calgary in Canada and Stockholm in Sweden.