February 25, 2024

Why is Switzerland applying to host the Winter Games in 2030 and 2034?

Naturally, Swiss people are very passionate about winter sports. But is it enough to host the Winter Olympics in 2030 or 2034? (Image Alliance/Keystone/Alessandro Della Valle)

It seems as if half the world is currently applying to participate in the Summer Games, and the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) is currently in dialogue with the population about whether or not to apply. But the winter games? They are more of a slow seller. Vancouver (Canada), Sapporo (Japan) and Salt Lake City (USA) did not really want to apply for 2030.

At least for now. Since there are now bidders who have registered their interest – besides France and Sweden, Switzerland also wants to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics. The Swiss Sports Parliament has decided this unanimously. The International Olympic Committee will announce the venues for the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games next summer.

Not just a city – “the whole country as an Olympic village”

If the bid is successful, Switzerland will be able to host the Winter Olympics for a third time. These events took place in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948. For 2030 or 2034, the event will not be limited to one city. Alpine competitions are scheduled in Crans-Montana, bobsleigh and snowboarding in St. Moritz, and ski jumping in Engelberg and Kandersteg.

This is how the Swiss sports politician Andrea Gmur-Schönenberger explains it in an interview with Dlf: “We are a big nation that plays winter sports. That is why it was practically inevitable that Switzerland would now want to apply again. That is: an entire country as a country.” “Olympic.” village.”

What makes the Winter Games interesting for Switzerland?

But what are the specific reasons why Switzerland wants to host this major sporting event? Gmur Schönenberger, member of the Council of States for the Die Mite party and vice-chairman of the parliamentary sports group, confirms the chances of hosting the event. You see two related fields:

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It would also be a signal that the Olympics could be held far from the gigantism that has been repeatedly condemned. It will be an opportunity, on the one hand, as a tourist destination, but on the other hand, I think, especially in politically difficult times, it will be an opportunity to strengthen social cohesion again.

Andrea Gmor-Schönenberger is a Swiss sports politician

Suitability of infrastructure, the issue of sustainability and strengthening social cohesion – these are the aspects that Gmur-Schönenberger emphasizes. Do residents also see it this way? Finally, the Graubünden canton’s application for 2026 failed due to the referendum.

Cantons can still hold referendums

“It is very possible to hold a referendum again in individual cantons,” Gmur-Schönenberger stressed, but she was very confident about it. “Because we are bringing ourselves together as a country, so it will not be one canton that is the host, but the whole country. I see that as a great opportunity through this decentralization, where all the cantons can benefit.”

Swiss State Councilor Andrea Gmur-Schönenberger looks into the camera.

Sports politician Andrea Gmor-Schönenberger can well imagine the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics in Switzerland. (Image Alliance/Keystone/Gaetan Bali)

A feasibility study recently showed that the mood among the population is definitely in favor of hosting the Winter Olympics. However, according to the survey, the Swiss lack confidence in the IOC. However, Gmur Schönenberger confirmed that the IOC wants to contribute around 710 million euros to the organization of the event.

Feasibility study of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Switzerland

Jamor-Schönenberger does not expect costs to rise significantly

However, security costs also account for the lion’s share; Switzerland as a country and individual cantons must cover these costs themselves. And these costs could explode. In 2010, Vancouver expected security costs to reach $175 million. It ended up being worth $900 million.

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Gmur-Schönenberger said a more detailed analysis of these costs was needed, but Switzerland “remains a very safe country”, which is why the sports politician considered the explosion in costs unrealistic.

Olympic speed skating competitions in Germany?

Switzerland also wants to save money by not building any new sports facilities. Thus speed skating competitions can be held either in Heerenveen in the Netherlands or in Inzell in Germany.

“It makes sense for Germany to make itself available for speed skating,” Gmur-Schönenberger said. “It will be an opportunity for Germany to position itself in this regard. I think we have to work together better and closer and support each other as well.”