Sapporo appears to be the next stop in a tour of potential hosts of the 2030 Winter Olympics by a team of International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspectors who will visit to assess the feasibility of proposed venues for the Games.
According to Kyodo News, the three-person team that surveyed venues around Salt Lake City in late April and is expected to conclude an inspection of Vancouver and Whistler by this Thursday will be joined by members of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) to explore up to 13 locations in Hokkaido province.
A trip by the same team to visit a Spanish bid of Barcelona and the Pyrenees in May had to be postponed, according to the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), because the project’s stakeholders were unable to agree on the distribution of sites across the region. This proposal will be submitted to a public referendum on July 24.
The IOC has been careful to position these visits as a service provided to interested bidders as they assess their own feasibility of hosting the Games and the organization has explained that the team is not tied to the commission for future hosts. directed by Octavian Morariu. The technical inspectors have not been identified by name.
The stealth measures currently in place by the IOC are part of the new bid process launched in 2019 which allows interested parties to engage in ongoing dialogue to explore the viability of bid plans without any commitment. This will allow any city to withdraw from the race without any discomfort.
“The IOC respects the confidentiality of each potential host as it works to develop the public and private dimensions of its project,” the IOC recently explained in a statement.
“Each interested party is free to communicate with national and regional media when they feel the time is right.”
No itinerary for these technical visits has been released by the IOC, suggesting that there may be other jurisdictions involved, exploring a possible bid for the Winter Games, beyond the four regions that have been open about their plans.
Last week GamesBids.com was the first to report the Vancouver 2030 tour currently underway after hearing about it from a bid spokesperson. Other planned trips, including the Sapporo inspection later this month, were uncovered by local media.
The IOC technical team will visit the Vancouver 2030 Olympic Winter Bid next week
The four regions currently known to be candidates are all in the hunt for second Games, with Barcelona looking to add to their experience from the 1992 Summer Games and the others looking to complete their first Winter Games.
Sapporo has the most advanced bid in the 2030 race after the city was forced to pull out of the 2026 race due to an earthquake in Hokkaido in 2018. Salt Lake City is well prepared for the Games of 2030 but may have to wait until 2034 to add distance to the already scheduled Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games also in the United States.
Vancouver appears to be the first Indigenous-led Games in history while Barcelona prepares for a summer referendum that threatens to end the project.
There is no fixed timetable for the host city election. The IOC will select one or more preferred hosts who will be voted on by members once the right partnerships have been found.