Sweden’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026 has received another boost as the country’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister underlined their unified support for the campaign.
Just days before the decisive vote on the campaign on 24 June at the International Olympic Committee Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Foreign Minister Margot Wallström expressed their shared hope that Sweden is elected to host its first ever Winter Games.
“Sweden last hosted the Olympic Games in 1912 and now it is time again,” said Löfven.
“We are a strong winter sports nation. We are very good at arranging big championships and we have shown it last winter with two major championships. Sweden wants the Olympics and Paralympics and we will deliver a sustainable Games – economically sustainable, socially sustainable and environmentally sustainable.”
Wallström added: “Welcome to Sweden. You can trust us and trust that we will do our best to make it a memorable Games.”
Since the Social Democrats came to power under Prime Minister Löfven, the message from the national government has been clear: Sweden wants the Winter Games in 2026.
This support comes from the whole of the Swedish government – and Löfven is extremely positive about the benefits of hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“We are convinced that an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sweden will be fantastic, and something for the whole country to look forward to,” he said.
“It will bring Sweden together and we will benefit in many different areas, such as jobs, business, integration and public health. Everything is connected and it is important that we see the bigger picture. It is good for Sweden and we are good at deliver major events.”
He continued: “We have shown this, not least during the recent winter, with both the Alpine World Championships in Åre and the Biathlon World Championships in Östersunds. We can do this.”
Wallström, the Foreign Minister, said: “I believe that it would contribute to the positive image of Sweden and it is important not only for business abroad, but also for keeping Sweden united.
“For us, it is important to win the vote. After all, we succeeded in entering the UN Security Council against all odds. If we can do that, on the basis of everything we stand for – equality, openness and diversity – then we can do it in this contest, too.”
The Swedish government is not alone in wanting to see the winter wonderland nation host its first ever Winter Games. The Swedish sports movement and business communities are also strongly behind the application.
“I think this is a sign of the Swedish approach,” said Löfven. “We do things together. The State does its part – but the business community also plays a very important part. This support plays a big role and for that, I’d like to praise the business community because it takes great responsibility in this.”
Wallström added: “It is important support from the business community and contributes to the Swedish image. They tend to be active in these areas and we hope that they will continue to be.”
The Stockholm Åre 2026 campaign slogan is ‘Made In Sweden’ – and both Löfven and Wallström believe that the phrase perfectly captures some of the key qualities that Sweden can offer on a global stage.
“I think it stands for quality – that is what has traditionally been associated with ‘Made in Sweden’,” said Wallström. “We deliver to a high standard and you can trust something that is ‘Made in Sweden’. I think this will characterise a Swedish Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
Löfven believes that ‘Made in Sweden’ makes an important statement about collaboration.
“For me, this means participation. In Sweden we have a world-famous Swedish model. We do things together; we care about each other and we help each other. We think in sustainable ways.
“Should we be awarded the Winter Games, it will be delivered with fair conditions for employees. We will ensure that 2026 will be a sustainable Games – Made in Sweden.”
He continues: “I think national pride in Sweden would increase if we had a chance to deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It would give us a project to look forward to throughout the country – and the eyes of the whole world will be directed towards Sweden.
“We are very proud of our country and a Winter Games would be another thing to be proud of.”
Indeed, both Löfven and Wallström are passionate about sport – and both talk with emotion about their favourite Olympic memories.
“I have a little special Olympic memory that goes back to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. At the time, I happened to know their Olympic minister, Michael Knight, very well and he came and greeted me and had the Olympic torch in his luggage. It was a special feeling to see and hold it.” says Wallström.
“I’ve watched in front of the TV so many times,” says Löfven. “But I want to mention two specific memories. One from Grenoble in 1968 when Toini Gustafsson Rönnlund won two Olympic gold medals. And another from Lillehammer when Peter Forsberg’s penalty won Olympic gold in the men’s Ice Hockey – a moment so iconic, it became a stamp in Sweden! That was magical.”