PM and the Princess: Stockholm-Åre 2026 unveils Lausanne-bound team
By Jonathan Rest in Lausanne
Stefan Löfven, the prime minister of Sweden, will headline the Stockholm-Åre delegation to Lausanne next week when the International Olympic Committee chooses the host for the 2026 winter Olympic Games.
Stockholm-Åre said the presence of Löfven, confirmed today - 24 hours after it emerged that Giuseppe Conte, Italy's prime minister, will lead the delegation of the rival Milan-Cortina bid - demonstrates the "government’s unequivocal support" for the project.
The Swedish prime minister will be accompanied by: Anna König Jerlmyr, the mayor of Stockholm; Sven Erik Österberg, the governor of Stockholm County; Daniel Danielsson, the mayor of Åre; Sara Tigerström Monfelt, project Manager for the town of Falun; and Ugis Mitrevics, the mayor of Sigulda in Latvia, where sliding sports would be held.
Athletes and business leaders from Swedish corporations will also be in attendance in Lausanne, ahead of the 24 June vote, as, it has now been confirmed, will Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the heir apparent to King Carl XVI Gustaf, and her husband Prince Daniel.
It was only in April that Stockholm-Åre’s bid finally welcomed a formal pledge of support for the campaign from the Swedish government, regarded as a significant boost after Milan-Cortina had already gained the backing of the Italian authorities.
The lack of central government support had been seen as a major hitch for Stockholm-Åre.
The bid team said today that Löfven will "use the opportunity to emphasise that hosting its first ever Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be a national project for Sweden, a nation with winter sports in its DNA. The Swedish government is fully supportive of the bid and the games."
Richard Brisius, chief executive of Stockholm-Åre 2026, said: “The prime minister of Sweden travelling to the Olympic Capital to represent Stockholm Åre 2026 shows the depth of national support for our bid. From delivering an unforgettable winter wonderland experience for athletes and fans, to operating an innovative, climate-positive games, the Swedish national government will be with us every step of the way, backed by our regions, municipalities and enthusiastic corporate community.”
Earlier this week, the IOC asked Stockholm-Åre 2026 for clarifications over financial backing for its bid, saying in a letter: "We received a number of non-binding letters of intent and guarantees, these do not represent binding commitments and therefore put Olympic village delivery at risk."
The bid attempted to play down the issue, telling AFP: "We have an ongoing, positive and constructive dialogue with the IOC - both in [e]mails and in letters."
Last month's IOC evaluation commission reports for the 2026 winter Olympics said that Milan-Cortina, but not Stockholm-Åre, meets all of the criteria for a successful games, with the commission's concerns over Stockholm-Åre apparently revolving around the bid’s financial support and commitment.
Stockholm 2026 has pledged not to use taxpayer money to stage the Olympics, planning instead to use corporate guarantees, insurance and a contingency reserve, but the report warned that “the names of the institutions or companies, as well as their level of financial contribution, remain to be determined…”
It added: “While the concept is solid, some operational aspects need further details... At the time of writing, a number of areas, including the governance model and financial support and commitment, remain to be clarified.”
A Sportcal Insight feature on the 2026 winter Olympics bid race can be accessed here.