Photo: TT

Government backing is ”important and gratifying”, says Richard Brisius

On Tuesday, the announcement came that the government would support Sweden’s application for the Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026.

“It is an important and gratifying message that we now have the government with us to offer the support we need to apply for a Swedish Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2026,” said Richard Brisius, CEO of Stockholm Åre 2026.

Brisius leads the project to bring the Games to Sweden – and admitted that the public backing from the government was important as they officially become ‘part of the team’ trying to bring the Olympics back to Sweden for the first time since 1912.

On June 24, the IOC will decide which nation will host the Olympic and Paralympic Wnter Games 2026. There are currently two candidates in the running –  Sweden’s Stockholm Åre, and Milan/Cortina from Italy.

“It feels great that the government is part of the team now, so we’re stronger than ever for the vote on June 24,” continued Brisius. “We now put our full focus on that vote, and continue with our positive spirit. I believe the dream of one day hosting the Winter Games in Sweden can become a reality. It would mean a lot to many Swedes,” he continued.

“This message was a very important milestone in the work that has been going on for a long time and which has involved many people for many years. The Government’s support is central to both the actual support in the form of the security work, but also because this is something that will unite the whole of Sweden.”

Richard Brisius says that in the years he has worked with this project, there has been ongoing and good conversation with Sweden’s politicians, which has now led to this positive message.

“We have had continuous positive contact for two years with many people in politics, in the parliament, in the government and representatives from there. It has been a work that has been of an informative nature in which we informed and provided new information – there is so much that has changed about how to arrange an Olympics and how to apply for it,” he adds.

“Then we have let each one of them take a position and create their own opinion of what they think. We haven’t tried to push this in any way but we have informed them. We have many wise and smart people among our politicians who have realised the value of this and that that this is a new fit for Sweden and that we can drive change. A change not only for Sweden, but also for the Olympic movement as a whole.”

So, with just over two months until that decisive vote in Lausanne on 24 June, what happens now?

“It will go very quickly – it’s an intensive and very important period,” adds Brisius. “It is the IOC members’ voices on June 24 that are most important and that will ultimately decide our fate. This is what we are focusing on, continuing to inform about our fantastic concept and what will be the most sustainable Olympic and Paralympics ever, in Stockholm Åre 2026.”

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