— Published 6 January 2021

Ukraine wants the Games, so does Hungary

Paradox. With less than 200 days until the event, the sky is cloudy over Tokyo and the staging of the next Summer Games remains as dubious as in the first months of the health crisis. But the IOC can take comfort: the Olympic event is always a dream.

Two Eastern European countries took advantage of the new year to express their willingness to enter into the race. Good news for the IOC: these two potential applicants have never organised the Games, summer nor winter. Their possible participation in a candidacy campaign would have the merit of being able, in the event of victory, to further open up the field of host countries.

At the top of the list, Ukraine. Youth and Sports Minister Vadym Hutsait told Suspilne Sport that the country is currently exploring the possibility of embarking on the adventure. “We are thinking of the Games in 2030 (winter) and 2032 (summer)”, he explained. A two-tier project, therefore, which Ukraine is currently studying the feasibility and cost of.

“We believe that in 10 years the country will be developed enough to host the Olympic Games”, suggests Vadym Hutsait.

According to several sources, the Ukrainian authorities are only at the beginning of their reflection. Under the leadership of the head of state, Volodymyr Zelensky, very motivated by a candidacy since his succession to power, a feasibility study must be launched. It will work on the various possible locations, but also on the event to be targeted as a priority.

According to the Minister of Sports, the Winter Games option in 2030 would be the most credible. Ukraine had already tried its luck for the Winter Games in 2022, with a candidacy from Lviv, led by Sergey Bubka, the president of the National Olympic Committee (and member of the IOC Executive Board). But the project was halted more than a year before the vote, due to political unrest over the Russian invasion of Crimea.

Also according to Vadym Hutsait, the idea of ​​a candidacy for the Youth Games would also be on the table. The event is less expensive, its dimensions are smaller. The next two editions of the event to be awarded concerns 2028 for winter, then 2030 for summer. Perfect timing.

Another possible start: Hungary. Unlike Ukraine, which has only one candidacy in the past, the country knows a lot about the subject. Budapest has already tried its luck for the Games of 1916, 1920, 1936, 1944 and 1960. More recently, its candidacy for the Summer Games in 2024, against Paris and Los Angeles, was interrupted before the finish line, under the threat of a referendum demanded by an opposition political movement.

After this latest failure, the Hungarians had assured that they would not try their luck again for a long time, preferring to focus on smaller-scale global events. But Viktor Orban, Prime Minister, said in an interview with Nemzeti Sport: “I would like to see Hungary host the Olympics in my lifetime”.

The Hungarian leader did not say much more. At 57, he has several decades left to complete his project. But he opened the door to a new attempt from Budapest. It would certainly be one of the strongest in the race.