— Published 6 January 2023

Chamonix does not want the Winter Games in 2030

End of the story? Probably. Just one day after the revelations by the Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps of a three-country bid by the Mont Blanc region – Switzerland, France and Italy – for the 2030 Winter Games, an entire section of the edifice has already collapsed. The town of Chamonix, presented as the French party in the dossier, politely declined the Valais’ offer to take part in the adventure.

The authorities of the Haute-Savoie town, which hosted the first Winter Games in 1924, cut short the rumours and speculation with an unambiguous statement. “In response to the numerous articles in the Swiss and French press this morning, Mr Eric Fournier, mayor of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, stated that although cross-border cooperation with our Valaisan neighbours is at the heart of the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Valley’s concerns, the project of a joint bid for the Olympic Games, as relayed by certain media, is not on the agenda“, the text explained.

The press release continues in the same tone, where Chamonix specifies its current priorities, which are far removed from the Olympic question. “Indeed, this one comes from a private initiative and not from the political authorities of the Espace Mont Blanc, who are currently working actively on the roadmap linked to the next European programming with the central subject of adapting our tourist economy to climate change“.

The message is clear: Chamonix will not be included. At least for the time being. “Not on the agenda“, the press release insists. The 2030 option is therefore ruled out before it has even been really studied or discussed.

With such a clarification, the project initiated in the Valais seems to have already lived. The Swiss Olympic Committee (Swiss Olympic) had already given the project a shake on Wednesday 4 January, when its spokesperson said that it was “not realistic” to launch a bid today for an event that was only seven years away.

As for the Italian side of the project, the Aosta Valley, it has remained very silent on the subject. But it seems unlikely that Italy will be involved in an Olympic project just four years after the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Games, the preparation of which has not been a smooth ride.

For the IOC, the prospect of a new bid joining the campaign for the 2030 Winter Games sounded like good news. After the successive withdrawals of Ukraine, Spain (Pyrenees-Barcelona) and Canada (Vancouver), followed by the indefinite pause of Japan (Sapporo), the Olympic body now finds itself with only one bid left on its two legs, Salt Lake City. But the Americans would prefer to inherit the event for the next edition, 2034, in order to avoid commercial competition with Los Angeles 2028.

The next few months are going to be very uncertain in this campaign. Will Sapporo relaunch its project? Will a new dossier emerge? If the answers to these two questions turn out to be negative, the IOC will be faced with a no-win situation. Salt Lake City and no one else.

After two successive campaigns with only two contenders – Beijing and Almaty for 2022, Milan-Cortina and Stockholm-Åre for 2026 – a foregone conclusion would mark another step backwards. A bleak prospect.