7th December 2022
The International Olympic Committee is postponing its decision on who will host the next but one Winter Olympics and Paralympics, partly in response to climate change. NEW
The announcement on the 2030 Games had been due to be made at the IOC Session in Mumbai in autumn 2023.
At the IOC Executive Board meeting in Switzerland this week it was agreed to delay the decision, though a new timetable was not laid out.
Salt Lake City in Utah – which held the Games in 2002 – and Sapporo in Japan are understood to be the frontrunners for 2030 after Vancouver in Canada failed to win the support of the British Columbia government.
The postponement was requested by the Future Host Commission which wants more time to consider several issues and challenges, not least climate change and sustainable winter sport.
One of the options it’s looking at is to have a pool of Winter Olympic hosts and rotate the Games within that pool.
To ensure climate reliability, the hosts would need to show average minimum temperatures of below zero degrees at snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.
The Future Host Commission outlined the results of leading academic research which show a potential reduction in the number of climate-reliable hosts.
It’s continuing to talk to winter sports federations about adjustments to their event calendars and potential new competition formats.
The IOC Executive Board said the Commission would use the extra time to study all these factors to make the best possible decisions about future hosting.
“It will also enable the Commission to further consult with the Interested Parties, International Federations, athletes, winter sports industry experts and the International Paralympic Committee,” the Board said in a statement.
“This will assist in providing a clearer picture for the IOC to make a sound decision for the host of the Olympic Winter Games 2030.
The man heading the Future Host Commission, Octavian Morariu, said: “The new, flexible approach to electing Olympic hosts was designed so the IOC could respond swiftly and effectively to ever-changing global circumstances, for the benefit of the athletes, all Olympic Games participants and the whole sports movement.”
There was also a discussion at the meeting about the possibility of awarding the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games at the same time to create stability for winter sports and the Games.
The Board said no decision was made on this as it needs more exploration.
The next Winter Olympics and Paralympics is in Milan-Cortina, Italy in 2026.