Ukraine is preparing a pitch to host the Winter Olympic Games as soon as 2030, seven years after scrapping a bid for the 2026 Games amid fighting with Russia.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach visited Ukraine over the weekend, meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, touring sporting facilities and even jousting with a fencer.
The IOC shared on Monday that Zelensky would soon send Ukrainian officials to the committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to begin formal discussions.
“President Bach warmly welcomed the initiative, ‘given the great sports tradition of Ukraine, and after having seen a very impressive presentation of the most recent sports and sports infrastructure in the country,'” the IOC said.
President Zelensky informed the IOC President that Ukraine is determined to become a host for the Olympic Winter Games, and that his country would therefore enter into the Dialogue Phase with the IOC.https://t.co/rl97FRITJ5
– IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) September 13, 2021
The IOC created a new flexible bidding system that allows countries to apply to host the two-week sporting event without picking a specific year, according to the AP. The next unclaimed Winter Olympics are in 2030.
Ukraine dropped out of the bidding for the 2022 Winter Games in 2014 due to their ongoing conflict with Russia. At the time, the IOC said Ukraine would turn its attention to the 2026 games.
The IOC has also recently held discussions with previous hosts cities Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sapporo, Japan, and mulled the possibility of hosting three consecutive Winter games through the Barcelona-Pyrenees project, the AP noted.