7 cities confirm interest in hosting 2026 Winter Olympics

Winter Olympian Akwasi Frimpong returns to Ghana April 2

LAUSANNE: Seven candidates have expressed interest in staging the 2026 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday, 18 months ahead of the date for naming the Games´ host.

Setting off on the dialogue phase of the IOC's rebooted bidding process are Austria's Graz, Calgary, Milan-Turin, Sapporo in Japan, Stockholm, Sion, and Erzurum in Turkey.

A young girl learns to skate on the ice at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Plaza on a warm day in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. Cortina is also a former host, having organized the 1956 Winter Olympics, with Turin hosting in 2006.

The IOC will elect the winning 2026 bid at its session in Milan in September 2019.

He lauded Calgary's "expertise", "incredible assets" and explained that careful budgeting "to the last detail" will help control the risk of cost overruns.

But he said those involved must be realistic when working out the numbers.

The cost in Calgary of making a formal bid for the Olympics is about $30 million and the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee concluded a year ago that hosting the 2026 Games would cost $4.6 billion. It has also simplified the seven-year preparation for Games organizers, reducing costs, upping the IOC's contribution and allowing host cities more flexibility in planning for the Olympics and the post-Games use of facilities.

IOC President Thomas Bach said, "I warmly welcome the NOCs' and cities' interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games".

The process now continues into what the IOC terms the "dialogue stage", in which the interested National Olympic Committees communicate with the IOC to develop their plans for hosting the Games.

For the 2018 Olympics, South Korea´s Pyeongchang was opposed by only two other candidates while Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Games against competition from just one other city.

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