Photo: Sandra Fogelberg

Amanda Lind: ”A New Games for a New Reality”

Amanda Lind is the Swedish Minister for Culture, Democracy and Sports – and she has expressed her support for an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden in 2026.

With the Swedish government fully behind the Games bid, we caught up with her to discuss the possibility of a Winter Games in Sweden in seven years – and why it’s important for the rest of the world that Stockholm Åre 2026 wins the vote at the end of June.

“Sweden has high goals when it comes to the environment and sustainability,” she explains. “We want to be at the forefront, and a Winter Games would give Sweden the opportunity to showcase that to the world.”

The Swedish Olympic Committee’s desire to host the biggest sporting event on the planet is strong in many areas – but two key themes are the environment and sustainability – and Stockholm Åre 2026 has been clear about its ambition to deliver the most sustainable Winter Games in history. This is also something that is important to the International Olympic Committee, as outlined in their Agenda 2020 initiative.

“I’m very positive about Olympic Agenda 2020,” says Lind. “It is a very good foundation and if Sweden were to host the Games, I look forward to Stockholm Åre 2026 implementing it.”

“Sweden can show that it’s possible to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in a sustainable way, both socially, environmentally and economically. Olympic Agenda 2020 is a prerequisite for Sweden’s government to express its support for this project.”

“Climate and environmental responsibility”

“The issue of climate change is very topical right now – and it’s an area that is important in this process, as winter sports will experience the consequences of climate change the most, being dependent on winter climate.”

Using what you have, where you have it – and not building short-term for theOlympic Games – is also a key value of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020. This is something that the Swedish bid puts great emphasis on, which means that action will take place across four world-class locations – Stockholm, Åre, Falun and Sigulda, Latvia. Lind believes that this is an area where Sweden can set a new standard for future Games.

“It’s absolutely necessary to follow these guidelines; sports must be serious and responsible when it comes to climate and environmental issues. Part of it is to use facilities that already exist, and not to build new ones. Carrying out the competitions both as climate-smart and as economically as possible are areas that permeate the Stockholm Åre 2026 plan.”

“Really great festivals”

Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm is a key part of the Games concept. Although there are many challenges for an organising city, Lind sees Stockholm as a ready and capable host.

“Stockholm has hosted many major sporting events, especially winter sport competitions,” Lind continues. “When winter sport events are arranged in Stockholm, there is a fantastic party atmosphere and festival. Just look at the Palace Sprint, or the Alpine World Cup competitions at Hammarbybacken. There’s definitely great interest and passion for winter sports amongst Stockholmers.”

And Lind believes that the global and international flavour of the Olympic Games will help to create a fantastic and memorable experience for everyone who takes part of the action in Sweden.

“The Olympic Games are fantastic events, with many athletes from nations all over the world participating. The sporting moments that the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games offer also brings joy to many. Of course, I’m hoping for a many of those moments of sporting success for Sweden!”

“A very nervous day”

“I’m a sports fanatic and I love watching many different sports,” Lind admits. “Sometimes I can only follow by TV or radio, but it’s extra fun when I get the opportunity to visit competitions and watch them live in person.

“One of my favourite Olympic memories is from PyeongChang 2018, when Frida Hansdotter and André Myhrer both had the opportunity to win Olympic golds. It was a huge moment and gave me goosebumps – so well deserved for them after such fantastic careers.”

“I remember the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 when I was a teenager. I stayed up in the middle of the night to watch the finals in the 100 metre sprints. I think it’s fun when the Olympics are organized all over the world, and that fans adapt to different time zones. If you really want to watch something live, you have to set the alarm. It makes it special.”

Lind has spoken a lot about her support for Stockholm Åre 2026 since the government publicly backed the application. Now, with just over a month to go until the all-important vote in Lausanne on June 24th, she says that she can feel the excitement building.

“The tension is building up,” she says. “I understand that it is an even race between Stockholm Åre and Milan Cortina. I hope, of course, that Sweden wins and comes away with the positive decision.”

“I’ll follow the vote as closely as I can and wait for what I hope will be good news. It will be a very nervous day, that’s for sure!”

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