Latvia approves use of its bobsleigh track if Stockholm hosts 2026 Olympics
Latvia is to contribute its bobsleigh track, situated in the town of Sigulda, for the use of the Swedish Olympic Committee, if Stockholm’s bid to host the 2026 winter Olympic Games succeeds.
Sweden has no track of its own for the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge competitions, but the track in Sigulda, built in 1986, has hosted European and World Championships for luge, as well as World Cup and Europa Cup competitions for bobsleigh and skeleton, and is situated just 50 kilometres from the capital Riga, which has ferry links to Stockholm.
The national Olympic committees of the two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding last year, but that MoU has now received the support of Latvia’s government.
The plan has been made possible by the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020 reform programme, which allows, for the first time, Olympic host cities to make use of facilities in other cities in the host country, or even in neighbouring countries.
The Latvian government has commissioned a survey to determine the renovations required to bring the track up to Olympic standard, if Stockholm’s bid succeeds, along with an action plan to assist the bid.
On Sunday, the line-up of bidders to host the 2026 games was reduced by one after the Swiss city of Sion dropped out of the race following an adverse referendum result, with 54 per cent of voters in Valais, the canton in which Sion is situated, saying no to bidding for the games.
Sion’s exit leaves Canada’s Calgary, Austria’s Graz, Turkey’s Erzurum, Japan’s Sapporo and an Italian bid involving Cortina d’Ampezzo, Milan and Turin vying with Stockholm to host the games.
However, Calgary's bid looks set to go before a public vote as well.
The host city will be selected in September 2019.