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Sunday October 15, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Sunday's referendum result shows that the people do not want the Winter Games. It is a significant blow to the Olympic movement. UPDATED

Voters in the Austrian province rejected it by a margin of 53%.

In the city itself the vote was even higher: 67%.

The people have said 'No' to hosting the Games in a city that many saw as an 'Olympic City'.

The Innsbruck bid followed the guidelines of Agenda 2020 - an Olympic reform programme that allowed greater flexibility in any bid and was designed to get the backing of local people.

It was drawn up to reassure people that the Olympics could bring benefits to all and that costs would be reduced.

It seems to have failed.

313,681 votes were cast in the referendum across 279 municipalities - 166,594 people voted No and 145,643 voted Yes.

The turnout was 58.43% with 1,444 invalid votes cast.

Innsbruck hosted the Games in 1964 & 1976 and held the Youth Olympic Games in 2012.  

See here for our earlier story on the weekend vote.

"The decision stands. I was, and still am convinced that our offer for re-dimensioned games would have been a chance, not only for Tirol but also for the Olympic movement," said the governor of the Tirol, Guenther Platter.

Innsbruck, AustriaInnsbruck, Austria













"The rejection is a huge blow to the International Olympic Committee. In recent years the local people of bidding cities in Europe have universally shunned hosting the Winter Games," said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

"Mainly due to cost, little proof of long-term benefits and the perceived arrogance of the IOC."

"If a bid from an Olympic city like Innsbruck, under new bidding rules, is rejected then it is perhaps time to go back to the drawing board for the IOC," he added.

Referendum votes against holding the Games are not new.

People in the Tirol voted against bids in 1993 and 1997.

Austria has had several failed Olympic bids.

The most recent one was Salzburg which was bidding for the 2014 Games.

Innsbruck, AustriaInnsbruck, Austria













The general secretary of the Austrian Olympic Committee, Peter Mennel, said he was 'personally disappointed' after the result at the weekend.

"We've been fighting hard for this chance over the last couple of months because we are convinced that the time was right for this low-key bid by Tirol," he said after the referendum result.

Official support for bidOfficial support for bid












See the link below for the earlier PlanetSKI story as Oslo in Norway, Stockholm in Sweden, Krakow in Poland & others dropped out of bidding for the 2022 Games that eventually went to Beijing in a two-horse race with Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Sion in Switzerland and Calgary in Canada are among other potential contenders for 2026.

The Swiss Federal government recently delayed a decision on whether to back the Sion bid.

If it supports Sion it is likely a referendum will be held in Switzerland too and that result now hangs in the balance.

The outcome will be very closely watched by the powers that be at the IOC.

Other contenders might include Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Sapporo in Japan and Erzurum in Turkey may also put their hats in the ring.

The USA is also thinking of putting forward a host city but is more likely to do so in 2030.

The formal bidding process for the 2026 Winter Olympics begins next year.

A final decision will be made in July 2019.


In contrast to the overall outcome people in the ski resorts planned to host the events voted largely in favour: St. Anton (85%), Hochfilzen (80%) and Seefeld (65%).

And here is some reaction from our readers over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page:/p>

Facebook reactionFacebook reaction

















See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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