Athletics

Spanish Olympic Committee scraps off Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 Winter Olympic bid

The Catalan Winter Sports Federation says Aragon should be ditched; Photo/Newsweek
  • The Spanish Olympic Committee has taken the decision due to disagreement between the Governments of Aragon and Catalonia
  • Aragon’s Minister of Education and Sports Felipe Faci had previously insisted that the bid needed to be put forward “on equal footing”.
  • Spain has never held the Winter Olympics, although Barcelona was the Summer Games host in 1992.

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has officially scrapped the Pyrenees-Barcelona bid for the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The expected decision comes after no agreement was reached between the Governments of Aragon and Catalonia, following weeks of infighting.

Issues have included disagreements over where different sports should be held.

Catalonia’s pro-independence Government also did not want to include Aragon, while some suggested the event could negatively impact the Pyrenees mountain range, due to climate change.

Spain

The Spanish Olympic Committee said the local governments of Barcelona and the Pyrenees region did not agree; Photo/NBC

The COE had confirmed earlier this month that the project would be axed if both regions could not come to a consensus.

“We had other brilliant candidacies that didn’t go ahead because we were competing with very strong rivals,” said COE President Alejandro Blanco, referencing Madrid’s bids for the Summer Olympics in 2016 and 2020.

“But this one we have destroyed ourselves at our own home. There was no other way than to withdraw the bid.

“We cannot spend months and months with the differences that we had.” the statement read in part.

Blanco said the COE wanted to maintain dialogue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and its Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, in the hope of hosting the event after 2030.

He said each region could potentially submit an individual bid, or those new ones could come forward.

“Despite the current situation, the Spanish Olympic Committee maintains its commitment to the International Olympic Committee to present a technically excellent, sustainable candidacy at a social, economic, and environmental level that regenerates the territory and that enhances the image of Spain before the world of sport and before the whole society,” a COE statement said.

Aragon’s Minister of Education and Sports Felipe Faci had previously insisted that the bid needed to be put forward “on equal footing”.

Initial COE proposals would have seen Alpine skiing, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, and ski mountaineering take place in Catalonia, with ice hockey in Barcelona.

Biathlon, curling, figure skating, speed skating, and short track were planned to be held in Aragon.

There was also an ambitious suggestion to hold bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, the 1984 Winter Olympic host which is nearly 2,000 kilometers away.

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The IOC is aiming to name the 2030 host at next year’s session in Mumbai; Photo/Beyond

However, Aragon put forward its own venue plan and did not show up to a meeting to endorse the COE’s proposal.

It wanted Alpine skiing to be split between the two regions.

The Catalan Winter Sports Federation, meanwhile, said that Aragon should be ditched and that “now it was up to us”.

Public votes on the candidacy in Catalonia were postponed amid the arguments.

Spain has never held the Winter Olympics, although Barcelona was the Summer Games host in 1992.

The IOC is aiming to name the 2030 host at next year’s session in Mumbai, with Sapporo, Vancouver, and Salt Lake City the remaining bids in the race.

Technical inspections have been held in all three cities, while the visit to Spain was delayed.

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