Innsbruck's Winter Olympic Games bid was "stopped dead in its tracks" Sunday after it was defeated in a public referendum across Innsbruck and Tirol, according to Robert Livingstone of GAMES BIDS. Austrian Olympic officials along with the IOC will view this as a "major setback after struggling to recover the image of the Games and reform the bid process in order to make it more palatable for governments and the general public." With all 279 of the polls reporting, only 46.65% approve the Olympic bid while 53.35% stand against it. In Innsbruck alone, the vote was "more negative" with only 32.95% in support and 67.41% voting "no." While there are "still voting cards to be counted, a large majority of those would have to be in favor of the bid to turn the results around." The failed referendum means that Innsbruck "will be prevented from entering the race." Over the past several weeks the Innsbruck 2026 bid committee had "taken to the streets and social media to aggressively promote the bid and to get voters to the polls to support the project." The IOC "did its part" by launching a new bid process designed to keep costs and risks low, and to work with the cities to ensure only feasible plans move forward (GAMES BIDS, 10/15).
The U.S. Olympic Committee is contemplating a bid for the 2026 Winter Games even though its chair, Scott Blackmun, said Friday the U.S. would “ideally” host in '30 to avoid competing with LA 2028 Summer Games for attention and revenue. That position signals to the IOC that the U.S. would consider ’26 if no viable European bid emerges. USOC execs also believe the IOC might choose hosts for ’26 and ’30 simultaneously. IOC President Thomas Bach has said he wants to return the Winter Olympics to “traditional” hosts, which means North America and Europe. "We don’t want to give up on a chance on a 2030 bid by staying out of the 2026 race,” Blackmun said. "Realistically, those are conversations that would need to happen between us and the IOC to figure out how we do that." If the U.S. puts forth a bid for ’26, it must choose a city by the end of March. The USOC is open to hearing from any city interested. However, Salt Lake City is widely seen as the best choice because of its existing winter sports infrastructure. On Sunday, voters in Innsbruck, Austria, decided against a possible ’26 Winter bid in a referendum.