Latvia’s Prime Minister, Arturs Krisjanis Karins, has pledged his full support to the Stockholm Åre 2026 bid in a letter to the Latvian Olympic Committee.
“It will be a unique opportunity to showcase our ability to organise sports competitions at the highest level and allow us to develop nationally important sports infrastructure. Let us all work together to win the right to host the Olympic Games in 2026 at home,” he wrote, in a letter delivered to the General Assembly of the Latvian Olympic Committee in Riga on 29 March.
The Stockholm Åre 2026 proposal, which would see Sweden host its first ever Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, features competition across four venues including Stockholm, Åre, Falun – and the neighbouring Latvian city of Sigulda.
“One of the most anticipated events of the year will be the decision for the organisers of the 2026 Winter Olympics,” continued the Prime Minister.
“We have already done a lot, but we can definitely do even more so that in the 2026 Winter Olympics, in cooperation with Sweden, competitions in luge, skeleton and bobsleigh disciplines would take place in Sigulda.”
The decision to include Latvia as part of the Stockholm Åre 2026 bid was based around the International Olympic Committee’s commitment to Agenda 2020.
With a renewed focus on sustainable games delivery, the Agenda 2020 initiative promotes a ‘use what you have, where you have it’ approach – and with Sweden lacking a sliding centre, holding action in nearby Sigulda is the perfect solution.
“We had the option of building a new sliding centre at high cost, or looking outside of the box to deliver a more sustainable and economically-viable solution,” said Richard Brisius, CEO of the Stockholm Åre 2026 bid, and continues:
“Latvia has a fantastic record in sliding sports, and we’re delighted to collaborate to build a wide-reaching and truly innovative approach to delivering the most sustainable Olympic Games in history.”
The Latvian city of Sigulda – just 45-minutes from the nation’s capital of Riga – is well-known as a world-class sliding sports venue, having hosted the European and World Luge Championships four times in the last decade, and the opening race of the 2018-19 Bobsleigh World Cup last December.
Sigulda boasts a rich heritage in the sport, and a state-of-the-art sliding centre – with necessary renovations already underway regardless of the success of the Olympic Games bid – will play host to skeleton, luge and bobsleigh action on the world stage should Sweden win the 2026 bid.
Last year, Latvian Olympic Committee President Aldons Vrublevskis described the Baltic nation’s delight at being part of an Olympic Games bid – and giving the country with a population of less than two million people a unique chance to host the world’s biggest sporting event.
“It would give us great opportunities to win Olympic medals at home. We’re very enthusiastic and were a little surprised when the request came from our Swedish colleagues to be part of their Winter Olympic Games application. After evaluating where we can help with in the various sliding sports, we are very positive.”
Vrublevskis believes that hosting the event in Sigulda could create a long-lasting legacy to inspire future generations of Latvian athletes to dream of success in sliding sports.
“Sliding sports are very popular in Latvia and sliding events are the only winter sports (Luge, Bobsleigh and Skeleton) in which we have won all kinds of Olympic medals. In the last four Winter Olympics we’ve won medals in at least one of the sliding sports and this would give us great opportunities to win Olympic medals at home and make these sports even more popular in the country.”