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Sapporo pushes back Winter Olympic bid

Sapporo 2030 Winter Olympic bid

This picture taken on November 30, 2021 shows Olympic signage in front of the Sapporo Olympic Museum near the Okurayama ski jumping platform in Sapporo, Hokkaido prefecture. - International Olympic Committee officials on May 31 began inspecting competition venues in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo, seen as a frontrunner to host the 2030 Winter Games. - Japan OUT (Photo by JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT (Photo by STR/JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images

Sapporo, Japan, is pushing back its Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid and will no longer pursue the 2030 Games, according to Japanese media.

In a press conference Wednesday, Sapporo mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto reportedly cited a lack of public support stemming from a corruption case involving 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizers (but not Sapporo).

“The scandals from late last year led to public distrust,” Akimoto said, according to the Japan Times. “It was also difficult to gain people’s understanding over rising costs that would create a burden for citizens.”

Wednesday’s announcement came 10 months after the Sapporo 2030 bid paused active promotion and four months after the first reports that the bid would stop due to public opposition.

Sapporo’s decision still leaves a few possibilities for the 2030 host, which is expected to be decided by the IOC between now and the start of the 2024 Paris Games.

In June, a Swedish bid said it entered into a “dialogue phase” with the IOC regarding the 2030 Games.

The Sweden Olympic Committee said the ongoing dialogue was expected to last just under six months with a possible final step of targeted dialogue. Under recent future host reforms, the IOC can enter targeted dialogue with what it deems a “preferred host” candidate.

In July, a group of French officials expressed interest in bidding for the 2030 Games, though an official bid announcement has not been made.

Previously, Salt Lake City and Vancouver expressed some interest in the 2030 Games.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Salt Lake City prefer 2034 to 2030 (with Los Angeles already hosting the 2028 Summer Games) but could step in for 2030 if asked.

Last October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid.

Last December, the IOC said it was no longer targeting the 2030 host to be decided before this fall in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline.

For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane, Australia, in 2021 without a traditional bid race.

The next Winter Games are in 2026 in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.