FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 file photo, people walk by a poster for the Sapporo Asian Winter Games, displayed at the main media center in Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

Sapporo ends bid for 2026 Winter Olympics

The Japanese city of Sapporo has dropped its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics following a recent earthquake.

The Japanese city of Sapporo has dropped its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics following a recent earthquake.

After meeting with Sapporo representatives, the International Olympic Committee said Monday the city, which became the first in Asia to host the Winter Olympics in 1972, will now focus on a bid for the 2030 Games.

Japanese officials have said 41 people were killed when an earthquake hit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where Sapporo is located, on Sept. 6. Even before the earthquake, Sapporo officials had said they might prefer to focus on 2030.

The IOC said in a statement it “expressed its understanding that recovery from the earthquake in the region should be the immediate principle focus but greatly appreciated the continued strong commitment as a future host for the Olympic Winter Games.”

Calgary is one of four bids remaining in contention for 2026. Others include Stockholm, Sweden; a three-way Italian bid from Turin, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo; and Erzurum, Turkey.

Sapporo’s exit means there is no chance of having three consecutive Winter Olympics in East Asia after this year’s games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the upcoming 2022 event in Beijing.

With four remaining bids for 2026, the race so far remains in healthier shape for the IOC than the 2022 bidding, which came down to only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, both of which faced criticism for their governments’ human rights records and a perceived lack of winter sports tradition.

However, each of the remaining bids faces its own challenges.

Government support for Stockholm’s bid appears less certain after recent elections in which the governing party lost ground, while there has been infighting between the three Italian cities despite their nominal alliance. Calgary’s bid faces a non-binding referendum Nov. 13 — Olympic bids elsewhere have often struggled to win over voters. Erzurum’s key problem is Turkey’s status as a winter sports outsider which has never won an Olympic medal on snow or ice.

The host city or cities will be chosen at the IOC session in Milan next September.

Related: Calgary Olympic Bid Corp. sees long-term housing benefits to hosting 2026 Games

Related: 2026 would be a historic sports year for Canada

___

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ponoka’s ag society board under scrutiny during AGM

About 80 people attended the society’s AGM, which saw three directors replaced

Ponoka teen pedestrian suffers injuries after pickup collision

A pickup struck a teen on residential streets in Ponoka

UPDATED: Calgary Police receive multiple bomb threats

Similar threats received across Canada and the United States

PHOTOS: Battle of Ponoka basketball action

The first ever senior high basketball league game for both Ponoka high schools was high energy

Guards injured, money stolen during overnight blast at Edmonton bank

Alberta Health Services said the injuries to the male guard were serious

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canadians spent almost $64,000 on goods and services in 2017

Households in B.C. each spent $71,001 with housing costs contributing to higher average

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Yellow Vests protestors take to Red Deer streets

Trudeau government’s immigration and oil industry policies denounced at rally

Most Read