POSTED: October 15th 2017
NewsUpdate

Olympics: Innsbruck 2026 falls to referendum rejection mounting the pressure for bidding cities

Innsbruck lost its third try at being an Olympic host city © Innsbruck 2026
Innsbruck lost its third try at being an Olympic host city © Innsbruck 2026

Austrian National Olympic Committee General Secretary Peter Mennel expressed his disappointment at the negative vote © Austrian Olympic Committee
Austrian National Olympic Committee General Secretary Peter Mennel expressed his disappointment at the negative vote © Austrian Olympic Committee

Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Innsbruck saw its Olympic Dream sail away Sunday as the Tyrol region votes no to a local referendum to host the 2026 Winter Games.  The public referendum held across 279 polls came back with a narrow negative margin as 53.35 percent oppose the bid while 46.65 percent approve it eliminating its chances to go forward with an Austrian candidate for the Olympics.

Innsbruck has an Olympic background hosting the 1964 and 1976 Games but their legacy wasn't enough today to put forward the hopes of bringing them back one more time.

Of the 313,681 votes that were cast, 166,594 were not in favor over 145,643 supporting the Games bid edging it out of the possible 2026 campaign.  

One more potential bidder falls to the referendum axe after a number of high profile cities have slipped away. Budapest and Hamburg both withdrew from the 2024 race leaving Los Angeles and Paris in a two horse race with the  International Olympic Committee (IOC) locking down both the 2024 and the 2028 Games a little over a month ago. Rome was in the campaign but failed to get the support of the newly elected Mayor Virginia Raggi to bring the government backing needed.

The prior bid race for the 2022 Winter Games saw Krakow, Lviv, Oslo, and Stockholm exit the competition leaving Almaty and Beijing in the race with the former Chinese summer Games host barely winning by a handful of votes.

Austrian National Olympic Committee General Secretary Peter Mennel said in a statement, "I am personally disappointed, which cannot be denied. 

"We have fought passionately the last few months for this opportunity because we are firmly convinced that the signs of the times had spoken for a moderate Tyrolean offer. I am still convinced that the advantages of an application would have clearly eliminated the disadvantages."

The recent arrest of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games leader Carlos Nuzman and his Director General Leonardo Gryner for a vote for bribes conspiracy have only added fuel to the black cloud of corruption suspicions hanging over the IOC. It hasn't helped the public's perception of hosting the Games. Escalating costs of future host cities and the ballooned budgets of recent past Games have left a less than stellar impression on cities considering entering the race.

The IOC recently launched a newer more streamlined bid plan for 2026 in hopes of attracting more cities to throw their hats in the ring. Calgary is working to put forth a bid as well as Sion, however the Swiss city just had a minor setback as the government decided to do more fact finding before they throw their weight behind the bid. 


Keywords · Olympics · Innsbruck 2026


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