With the 2022 Winter Olympics set to begin Feb. 4 in Beijing, China — and preparations for the 2026 Winter Games in Milano and Cortina, Italy, already underway— the next step is to designate a host for the 2030 Games. We’re not yet sure when that will happen, but several cities are vying for the opportunity.
Canada, in particular, is generating a lot of buzz with what would be the first Indigenous-led bid to host the Olympics, according to Inside The Games. The Lil Wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, along with the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December to explore the feasibility of hosting the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“We believe there is incredible potential for a transformative Olympic and Paralympic Games in the region and support a process that explores feasibility in accordance with First Nations protocol, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Report Call to Action 91, the United Nations Declarations on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples and BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” reads a joint statement issued by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC). “This MoU is also an important first step towards exploring the feasibility of bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to the region. We believe this agreement provides the foundation for transformative change for future event hosting and collaborative work with Indigenous communities across Canada and the world.”
Vancouver and Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Games, and “while the Four Host First Nations were also highly represented in Vancouver 2010, the forthcoming approach will be a complete departure from the 2010 Games,” DailyHive.com reports.
“I know many Vancouver residents have fond memories of the Vancouver 2010 Games. They brought much joy to the city, country, and the world,” Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said during a press conference announcing the MoU. “But the step we are taking today is much different than those taken to establish the 2010 Games. While the 2010 Games included Indigenous representation, the 2030 Games cannot proceed without the informed consent of these Four First Nations.”
Wilson Williams, spokesperson for the Squamish Nation, told Voice of America that hosting the 2030 Winter Games would be a boon for the First Nations people.
“There’s a real hunger for sharing stories of who we are, where we come from, you know, there’s always that political eagerness to share the landscape in the visions of that, but I think the real story is paving a story that’s a vision for generations down the road,” he said.
Venues and infrastructure built for the 2010 Winter Olympics likely will be reused, Vancouver officials say, to lower costs and enhance sustainability. The International Olympic Committee already has pointed to those Games as a sustainability model.
According to DailyHive.com, the COC, CPC and other stakeholders will determine if it makes sense to host the 2030 Games. If a bid is feasible, a bid committee likely will be assembled following the 2022 Winter Games.
“There would be further agreements to sign between the First Nations and municipal governments,” the Canadian online newspaper notes.
Should Vancouver proceed, it will have some stiff competition. Salt Lake City hopes to bring the Winter Games back to Utah, which hosted the 2022 Winter Olympics, for 2030. “But given the proximity to the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympics, [organizers] could shift [their] efforts to the 2034 edition,” according to SportsProMedia.com.
The website also reports that hosting another Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games could cost Salt Lake City up to $2.2 billion — including $1.75 billion (plus a $200 million contingency) for operational costs and $250 million for legacy projects and winter sports. No infrastructure costs are included in that projected budget.
Meanwhile, officials in Sapporo, Japan — another city bidding on the 2030 Games — estimate hosting would cost between $2.55 billion and $2.65 billion, according to USNews.com. That’s down 20 percent from a 2019 estimate.
Additionally, Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Huttsait late last year outlined his country’s intentions to host both the 2028 Winter Youth Olympic Games and the 2030 Winter Olympics.
“Lviv in Ukraine did bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but pulled out in June 2014 because of the political difficulties in the country, which at the time centered around a dispute between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, and the disappearance and overthrow of former President Viktor Yanukovych,” according to Inside The Games. “Fears that a fresh conflict between Ukraine and Russia could be imminent may potentially harm Ukraine’s chances of winning hosting rights to the 2028 Winter Youth Olympics and 2030 Winter Olympic Games.”