POSTED: April 11th 2017

Olympics: Swiss NOC ratifies the Sion bid for the 2026 winter Games

Sion is known for its two historic hilltop castles © Big Stock
Sion is known for its two historic hilltop castles © Big Stock

The meeting today to ratify the bid © Swiss Olympic
The meeting today to ratify the bid © Swiss Olympic

The successful vote © Swiss Olympic
The successful vote © Swiss Olympic

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Sion is back for another Olympic bid after the Swiss NOC gave it the green light for the 2026 winter Games on Tuesday. It is also the first city to come forth to start the 2026 bid race.

The Swiss city is the capital of the Valais canton and lost its last hard fought bid to Turin, Italy for the 2006 winter Games and would include the neighboring areas of Fribourg, Berne,Vaud, Martigny, Montreaux, and Lausanne. The small town of approximately 33,000 people is located on the Rhone River and is known for its historic hilltop castles.

The bid was given the go ahead by the Swiss NOC's EB last month and earned the support of the 86 sports federations today and approved the eight million Swiss francs to start the bid.

The next step for the bid to go forward will be to earn the support of the Swiss government and then there is the possibility that a referendum could take place.

The fact that Switzerland is jumping in the bidding for the 2026 Games is a positive point for the IOC located in nearby Lausanne. After three editions taking place in Asia [PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022] it may prove time to bring the event back to Europe. However the fact that Lausanne will host the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2020 may have an influence on the vote. 

Also the plan would use Geneva airport as the closest international landing point to access the Olympic zones.

Reuters reports that Swiss downhill gold medal Olympian, Didier Defago, said, "The Games would have a positive impact on a wide range of areas of our society but the focus will be on the revitalization of sport in our country, and in particular the upgrading of winter sports." 

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Switzerland · Sion

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