- IOC has delayed announcing the Games’ host to 2024
- Sweden have also indicated interest in staging the event
- Sapporo and Salt Lake City likely to pivot towards bid for 2034 Winter Olympics
France could submit a combined bid from Rhône-Alpes and the Southern Alps for the 2030 Winter Olympics, according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Guy Drut.
The 72-year-old Frenchman told L’Equipe that the two projects would need to merge in order to land the IOC’s showpiece winter sports event, and indicated that a joint approach would gain support from courtyman Martin Fourcade, a fellow IOC member and a five-time Olympic biathlon champion. No official interest has been communicated by the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) as of yet.
“If we succeed, we have a small chance, a chance, to get them,” he said. “If the request is made only by the Southern Alps, it will not work.
“We need a bid bringing together the Southern Alps and the Northern Alps.”
Drut also suggested that ice sporting events could be held in Nice, as well as highlighting the ski resorts in Rhône-Alpes such as Grenoble and
Albertville as a setting for slope events. Both towns have each hosted a Winter Olympics on behalf of France, with Albertville hosting the most recent edition in 1992.
In January, Le Temps reported that a joint bid from French town Charmonix, Swiss canton Valais and Italian city Aosta was being planned.
However, Éric Fournier, the mayor of Chamonix-Mont Blanc, poured cold water on the possibility, announcing afterwards that a bid “is not on the agenda”.
The IOC said in December that it had shelved plans to announce the Games’ host city later this year, with the decision to be delayed to 2024.
In February, Sweden announced its interest in hosting the 2030 edition, with a feasibility study currently underway. A public survey in April revealed that 70 per cent of Swedes are in favour of submitting a bid ‘if the feasibility study shows that it is possible to implement sustainable, democratic and cost-effective Games’.
Japanese city Sapporo was once considered the favourite to land the event, but its bid has been put on pause due to a series of bribery allegations concerning the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said last month that it will consider bidding for the 2034 edition instead.
Salt Lake City was also thought to be a potential host city for the event. However, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has said it would prefer to host the 2034 Winter Olympics rather than the 2030 Games, given the country is already staging the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Gone are the days when Winter Games would attract multiple strong bidders and heavy interest. Hosting the Winter Olympics is an expensive business and the climate emergency means that only a limited number of locations are able to meet IOC demands.
A move to joint bids has already been seen in soccer’s World Cup, as well as several other major events, these allow stakeholders to share the increasingly heavy financial and political burden. The Olympic Games has not moved to this model yet, but if it is going to happen then the Winter Games would make the most sense as events require such a broad range of geographies.