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Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Joint letter from three host regions’ governments underlines powerful political support behind Stockholm Åre 2026

The Executive Council Chairs of the three Swedish regions slated to host events at Stockholm Åre 2026 have published a joint letter committing their support for bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to Sweden for the very first time.

The letter, published in Avesta Tidning and other local daily newspapers on Monday 10 June, was co-signed by Irene Svenonius, Chair of the Stockholm Region Executive Council; Mats Gärd, Chair of the Jämtland Härjedalen Region Executive Council; and Ulf Berg, Chair of the Dalarna Region Executive Council.

The world-famous ski resort of Åre, in the Jämtland Härjedalen Region, is the proposed venue for alpine and snowboard events. Falun in Dalarna is the heartland of Nordic sport in Sweden and the natural host for ski jumping and Nordic combined. Stockholm Region, meanwhile, would be the stage for 73% of Olympic and 86% of Paralympic sessions.

In the Swedish system of government, the Region Executive Councils have a lead role in both public transport and public health, among other areas, giving them central importance in the successful delivery of the Games and its social legacies. The Stockholm Region Executive Council alone manages an annual budget of SEK 105 billion kr (approx. USD $11.1 billion).

In the letter, the regional council leaders stress that hosting the 2026 Winter Games would be “about much more than just world-class competition and an unforgettable festival atmosphere.” They write:

“An Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden would be delivered in a uniquely sustainable way – in terms of the environment, but also in terms of the economy and wider society… The focus around sustainability for 2026 is extremely good for Sweden, a nation leading in this area globally, thanks to long-standing systematic work on sustainable development.”

As well as minimising environmental impact and financial risk, the letter also points to the Games’ potential economic benefits:

“We get the opportunity to show the breadth and beauty of our magnificent country – and to increase awareness and interest in Sweden… This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Sweden, and Swedish expertise, to the world… Properly managed, an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden can make an impact long after 2026 and open up new markets and opportunities for Swedish companies and businesses.”

The politicians go on to highlight the human impact of bringing the Winter Games to Sweden for the first time in history:

“Children and young people – of all abilities – are in need of strong role models when it comes to sport, exercise and health. The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 would give us the opportunity to highlight both elite and mainstream sports for all as an important part of preventative public health work.”

Stockholm-Åre 2026 has three tiers of support from national, regional and municipal authorities, which ensures the privately run Organising Committee will have the strongest possible foundations. No public funds will be committed to the staging of the Games, but all three levels of government have been intimately involved in the development of the Swedish bid since the beginning.

The regional governments of Stockholm, Jämtland Härjedalen and Dalarna have formally guaranteed the provision of all necessary public services to the Games. The bid has also received the necessary guarantees of services from the national governments of Sweden and Latvia, which will host the sliding events, as well as the municipal governments of Stockholm and Åre.

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