Let’s face it: things are happening in Switzerland. The Swiss Confederation, once stunned by its repeated failures in the race for the Winter Olympics, seems to have licked its wounds. It has regained its appetite. No one will complain.
Having entered the battle for the 2030 Winter Games after the Canadians withdrew from Vancouver, the Spanish from Barcelona and the Pyrenees, and above all the Japanese from Sapporo, Switzerland is not only eyeing the Olympic and Paralympic event.
It has submitted a bid to host the first Games of the FIS – the International Ski and Snowboard Federation – in 2028, where it is in competition with Norway. Above all, it is now also showing an interest in hosting the European multisport championships.
First and foremost, the Winter Games. Switzerland puts them at the top of its list. But, unlike its Swedish and French rivals, it still has to use the conditional tense to talk about the bid.
Jürg Stahl, President of the Swiss Olympic Committee, and Roger Schnegg, Chief Executive Officer, took advantage of the Media Meetings organized by the body on Wednesday November 15 in Lausanne and Zurich to clarify the timetable. It promises to be a tight one.
On Friday November 24, the Sports Parliament is due to meet in Ittigen to approve or reject Switzerland’s bid for the 2030 Winter Games. Three days earlier, the proponents of the project will have been heard by the IOC’s future host commission, a grand oral also scheduled for the French and Swedish teams.
“It’s now up to the Sports Parliament to give the project leaders the green light to go ahead – and then for the IOC to decide whether to invite us to the next phase of the dialogue, explained Jürg Stahl. But we’re delighted with the interest and the constructive, critical and sympathetic support for the project from the Swiss media and public.”
The President and CEO of Swiss Olympic also reiterated the concept behind the project: Games for the whole of Switzerland, with events in all language zones. It would have been inspired, they explained, by the Italian example of the Milan-Cortina 2026 Games, where the map of venues radiates across the north of the country. “Having several regions reduces the risks, insisted Jürg Stahl. What’s also important is to have relatively few investments to make and that there is little harm done to nature.”
Swiss Olympic has made it clear that failure to host the Winter Games in 2030 would not mean the end of the Swiss project. Should the IOC Executive Board not retain Switzerland for the targeted dialogue phase at its next meeting in Paris (November 29 to December 1), Switzerland could try again for the 2034 edition. It would then come face to face with the Americans from Salt Lake City.
On Wednesday November 15, Swiss Olympics opened the European multisport championships to the media. Glasgow and Berlin shared the event for its first edition in 2018, then Munich brought everyone together four years later. For the future – 2026 and 2030 – all is open.
The Swiss project is not new. The Lausanne authorities first mooted the idea back in August 2022, at the end of the European multisport championships in Munich. Patrice Iseli, Director of the Sports Department, said that the Olympic capital could join forces with other cities to organize the event. Since then, the idea has gained ground.
Roger Schnegg explained: “The budget is obviously much smaller. But here too, the whole of Switzerland could benefit. Obviously, we wouldn’t be staging the European Championships in 2030 if we were awarded the Winter Games, but we see the potential synergies.”
A press release from the body makes this clear: “Swiss Olympic sees great interest in pursuing the idea of organizing European Championships in Switzerland, even if it’s not in the same year as the Olympic and Paralympic Games.” In other words, the multi-sport event could be held in 2026, if the bid for the 2030 Winter Games is successful, or four years later if it fails.
Jürg Stahl insists: “We’re highly motivated by the idea of showing that a small country like ours can do it.” A small country, yes, but with big ambitions.