FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 file photo, people walk by a poster for the Sapporo Asian Winter Games, displayed at the main media center in Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

Sapporo ends bid for 2026 Winter Olympics

The Japanese city of Sapporo has dropped its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics following a recent earthquake.

The Japanese city of Sapporo has dropped its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics following a recent earthquake.

After meeting with Sapporo representatives, the International Olympic Committee said Monday the city, which became the first in Asia to host the Winter Olympics in 1972, will now focus on a bid for the 2030 Games.

Japanese officials have said 41 people were killed when an earthquake hit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where Sapporo is located, on Sept. 6. Even before the earthquake, Sapporo officials had said they might prefer to focus on 2030.

The IOC said in a statement it “expressed its understanding that recovery from the earthquake in the region should be the immediate principle focus but greatly appreciated the continued strong commitment as a future host for the Olympic Winter Games.”

Calgary is one of four bids remaining in contention for 2026. Others include Stockholm, Sweden; a three-way Italian bid from Turin, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo; and Erzurum, Turkey.

Sapporo’s exit means there is no chance of having three consecutive Winter Olympics in East Asia after this year’s games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the upcoming 2022 event in Beijing.

With four remaining bids for 2026, the race so far remains in healthier shape for the IOC than the 2022 bidding, which came down to only Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, both of which faced criticism for their governments’ human rights records and a perceived lack of winter sports tradition.

However, each of the remaining bids faces its own challenges.

Government support for Stockholm’s bid appears less certain after recent elections in which the governing party lost ground, while there has been infighting between the three Italian cities despite their nominal alliance. Calgary’s bid faces a non-binding referendum Nov. 13 — Olympic bids elsewhere have often struggled to win over voters. Erzurum’s key problem is Turkey’s status as a winter sports outsider which has never won an Olympic medal on snow or ice.

The host city or cities will be chosen at the IOC session in Milan next September.

Related: Calgary Olympic Bid Corp. sees long-term housing benefits to hosting 2026 Games

Related: 2026 would be a historic sports year for Canada

___

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack theatre talent shines on outdoor Vancouver stage

Adam Charles lands lead role in Disney’s Newsies with Theatre Under the Stars

Fatal railway crossing accident in Chilliwack highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: TSB report

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

Indie rock meets classic rock for Mudsharks 3 concert in Chilliwack

The local band will be playing both original hits and cover songs at free concert at Corky’s

Molson-Coors to honour Sto:lo culture and history at Chilliwack brewery

Artist proposals sought by July 30 to design and install a commemorative piece

Tractor exhaust pipe causes fire on Agassiz field

Agassiz fire crews were on scene around 1 p.m. Tuesday

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Most Read