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Spain stops 2030 Winter Olympic bid; 3 main candidates remain


BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 04: Flag bearers Queralt Castellet and Ander Mirambell of Team Spain lead the team in front of the Olympic Rings during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the Beijing National Stadium on February 04, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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Spain withdrew its bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics due to political differences, leaving Salt Lake City, Sapporo, Japan, and Vancouver as candidates to host. The IOC is expected to make its decision within the next year.

The Spanish Olympic Committee said the local governments of Barcelona and the Pyrenees region, which were to share hosting duties, could not come to an agreement.

“We had other brilliant candidacies [for the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics] that didn’t go ahead because we were competing with very strong rival cities,” Spain Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco said Tuesday, according to a Reuters translation. “But this one we have destroyed ourselves at our own home. There was no other way out than withdrawing our bid. We cannot spend months and months and months with the differences that there were.

“We were transforming an integrating project into a war between constitutionalists and independentists, the Olympic spirit is not about that.”

The Spanish committee told the IOC it wants to continue talks for potentially hosting a Winter Games beyond 2030.

As of 2020, the Spain plan called for city events in Barcelona, mountain events in the Pyrenees (150 miles north of Barcelona) and sliding sports and ski jumping in another country, as Spain does not have existing venues for those events.

Last week, a Salt Lake City bid team, including Lindsey Vonn, met with the IOC at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and said it went well.

Salt Lake City expects the IOC to in December choose a city or cities for a more targeted dialogue phase for 2030 (and perhaps 2034), and a host city election next May 30 or June 1.

Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics. No nation has hosted back-to-back Olympics since World War II. Salt Lake City, which hosted the last Olympics in the U.S. in 2002, is prepared for 2034 if necessary.

“We are focused on 2030,” Fraser Bullock, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said earlier this month. “Everything we do, every contract we sign, is all focused on 2030. But it also has a provision for 2034.

“We recognize the back-to-back Games are challenging. Geopolitically, it’s hard for the IOC to award back-to-back Games in the U.S., for ’28 and for ’30. We know that that’s hard. But we also recognize there are opportunities through back-to-back Games.”

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