Innsbruck to reject 2026 Winter Olympics bid after referendum

Tyrol residents vote against plan to host Games.

Innsbruck to reject 2026 Winter Olympics bid after referendum

Residents of the Austrian state of Tyrol have rejected a plan for the region to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in a local referendum, by 54 per cent to 46.

The outlined bid would have been centred around the state capital of Innsbruck - which has previously hosted the Winter Games in 1964 and 1976 - but, with just a handful of postal votes yet to be counted, 53.56 per cent of voters across the region have come out against the proposal. Austrian media are treating the result as it stands as definitive.

Residents of Innsbruck itself were overwhelmingly opposed to the bid, with 67 per cent of the population there voting against.

The result is the latest in a succession of similar blows to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has seen interest in holding its flagship events fall away significantly in recent years, as potential hosts have been deterred by the increasing scale and cost of the Games.

The race for the 2022 Winter Olympics was left with just two candidates - the Chinese capital of Beijing, which was the ultimate victor, and Almaty in Kazakhstan - after Switzerland's St Moritz and Germany's Munich pulled out following referendums.

Meanwhile, the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games were eventually awarded simultaneously to Paris and Los Angeles respectively after a series of other proposed bids for 2024 - from Boston, Hamburg, Rome and Budapest - were all defeated by public opposition.

No other potential candidate cities have so far been confirmed for the 2026 Winter Olympics, though Lillehammer in Norway, Sion in Switzerland, Calgary in Canada and Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, USA are all reportedly preparing bids for the event.

The eventual host city will be selected at the 134th IOC Session in July 2019, which will be held in Milan, Italy.