Olympics-France 2030, Salt Lake City 2034 are preferred Winter Games bids - IOC


Olympics - IOC Executive Board meeting press conference - Salon Hoche, Paris, France - November 29, 2023 President of the Austrian Olympic Committee Karl Stoss during the press conference REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq

PARIS (Reuters) -France 2030 and Salt Lake City 2034 were picked as preferred hosts of the Winter Olympics and their respective bid teams will now go into a dialogue with the International Olympic Committee, the IOC said on Wednesday.

Bid leaders will intensify talks with the IOC, fleshing out plans and state support, with the Olympic governing body to decide on the 2030 and 2034 hosts at its session in July, 2024.

"The IOC Executive Board today invited the French National Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee into targeted dialogues towards hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in the French Alps and the 2034 edition in Salt Lake City-Utah," the IOC said in a statement.

"We will start more detailed discussions with the interested parties," Karl Stoss, head of the IOC's Future Host commission, told a press conference.

"They (cities) have now to do their homework. The decision is not made yet. The work is not finished. But we have another six months to come to a decision," he said.

The French bid, which involves the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur regions, scored points for its plan to hold the Games in four separate clusters as well as for its strong support from the public and private sector, the IOC said.

"In the final stage of dialogue, the IOC selects the French Alps to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"Innovative, sustainable and inclusive Games, which will make France and its mountains shine. What pride!"

Salt Lake City had initially wanted to bid for the 2030 Games but dropped plans due to it being too close to the 2028 summer Games in Los Angeles.

Its current plan relies on existing venues only and requires no significant capital investment, according to the IOC, while building on the work from the 2002 Games.

This is not the first time in recent years that the IOC has sought long-term security with a double allocation, having picked Paris for the 2024 summer Games and LA for the 2028 edition back in 2017.

France has also staged the Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, in 1968 in Grenoble and in 1992 Albertville.

Switzerland and Sweden had also expressed interest in hosting the 2030 Games. Salt Lake City staged the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Switzerland was invited into a "privileged dialogue" for the 2038 winter Games, with the bid working with the IOC until 2027 when a decision for a preferred host will be taken.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann,Editing by Alexandra Hudson, Ed Osmond and Toby Davis)

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