Rescinding a Bid: Stockholm's uncertain relationship with the Olympic Games
Olson, Erik Johan
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The City of Stockholm has undergone a curious process of considering whether to launch a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. That Stockholm has contemplated launching a bid is not surprising from a regional perspective—the Olympic Games have not been held in a Scandinavian country since Lillehammer, Norway played host in 1994 and Sweden has never hosted the Winter Olympics. A potential bid from Stockholm would also be consistent with Sweden's self-identification and embracement of being a 'sportive nation'. Failed applications by the Swedish cities of Gothenburg, Falun, and Östersund to host the Winter Olympic Games confirm the long-standing interest of the Swedish Olympic Committee to secure the Games, although it should be noted that the Swedish Olympic Committee did not submit a bid for the 2006, 2010, 2014 or 2018 Winter Olympic Games competitions. Although recent reports indicate that Stockholm will not vie for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, the notion that the city was even considering the option remains surprising. Stockholm had withdrawn its bid from the 2022 bidding competition citing a variety of concerns including a lack of government and public support, financial uncertainty, as well as the post-event viability of purpose-built infrastructure. Stockholm's withdrawal from the 2022 competition resonates with the growing apprehension by potential bid cities (especially those emerging from democratic countries) towards the Olympic Games. This thesis seeks to illustrate that Stockholm's Olympic hopes have book-ended a transformative period in the Olympic bidding process and to expose the struggle that bid cities have in adjusting to the demands of the IOC's bidding process.
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