Just seven days remain until the IOC members cast the decisive vote on who out of Sweden and Italy should host the 2026 Winter Games – and here are seven reasons why Sweden would be the perfect partner for the Olympic movement to deliver a Games that sets a new global standard in terms of sustainability, economics and social inclusion.
• It will be the most sustainable Games of all time
Everyone knows Swedes have a unique relationship with nature – and a Swedish games would be no different. Organisers have set a big ambition, to deliver the most sustainable Olympic Games of all time, and the first ever climate-positive Games in 2026. Sustainability is a topic that is rightly on everyone’s lips right now – and it’s only going to be more important in seven years’ time. The Organising Committee has set a target of 0% waste and 100% reuse or recycling across its life – and a Swedish Winter Games will make maximum use of emerging technologies in green building and overlay materials, and in low-carbon and electric vehicles, integrating new innovations as they become available in Sweden’s world-leading sustainability economy.
• Sweden is a true Winter Wonderland nation
In Sweden, winter sports isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life. With stunning alpine conditions, it’s not unusual to ski or skate to work or school, and Swedes really treasure the winter conditions. In fact, they have over 50 words for snow! The best part about getting chilly is warming yourself by the cosy fire afterwards, and Sweden has no end of romantic log cabins and saunas to warm up – preferably with a glass of ‘glögg’ or a craft Swedish beer.
• It doesn’t use taxpayers money
Just like LA 2028, Sweden has designed a plan for the Games that doesn’t use taxpayer’s money – and is instead financed privately in a balanced and conservative way. Stockholm Åre 2026 is a sustainable bid not just in terms of the environment, but also social and economic responsibility, and Sweden’s business community – including the likes of Ericsson, Volvo and Spotify – have pledged their clear support behind the bid, as well as three tiers of Sweden’s politicians – from local leaders to regional representatives and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
• It is designed around the IOC’s Agenda 2020
Agenda 2020 – the International Olympic Committee’s new framework for the Olympic movement – promotes a ‘use what you have, where you have it’ flexible approach to delivering an Olympic and Paralympic Games – and that’s a model that Stockholm Åre 2026 holds at its core. Action will be spread over four venues – Stockholm, Åre and Falun in Sweden, and Sigulda in neighbouring Latvia – and no new facilities will be built exclusively for the Games. Sweden has a solid recent history of organising major winter sport events – Stockholm already boasts many world-class stadia including the Tele2 Arena and Ericsson Globe, and Åre recently hosted the FIS Alpine World Cup.
• Sweden has never hosted the Winter Games
Believe it or not, despite being one of the most recognisable winter nations on the planet, Sweden has never hosted the Winter Games! It is the most successful country never to have hosted the competition – and if Sweden does win the honour of delivering the 2026 games, it will mark 114 years since the nation last hosted Olympics back in 1912. The Olympic Stadium in Stockholm – built specifically for those Games – still stands, is the oldest in-use Olympic venue on the planet, and plays a central role in the plans for Stockholm Åre 2026.
• Stockholm has been named ‘cleanest capital city on Earth’
Sweden’s capital isn’t just one of the coolest cities on the planet – indeed, the second most prolific tech hub per capita outside of Silicon Valley, spawning the likes of Spotify and Skype – it also boasts some of Europe’s most beautiful architecture. But what’s most attractive about Stockholm is that it is extremely pleasant to wander around, and just last year was ranked number one in a guide of ‘cleanest capital cities in the world’ by The Telegraph. Make sure you stop to experience fika – Sweden’s unique coffee culture – or try one of almost 50 Michelin-rated restaurants in the city.
• Sweden REALLY wants the 2026 Winter Games
Forget what you might have read – Sweden as a whole really wants to host the Winter Games. Sentiment has shifted massively over the past few months, and indeed, the Prime Minister Stefan Löfven leads a government fully behind and supportive of Sweden’s bid to host the Games. Business leaders of some of the biggest Swedish brands on the planet have joined forces to pledge their support for Stockholm Åre 2026 – and every day, more and more Swedes are learning more about what the bid and IOC’s vision for the Olympic movement really stands for. Sweden believes that it can deliver a Winter Games to set a new standard in 2026 – a sustainable and inclusive Games, made in Sweden.