— Published 23 October 2023

Sapporo eyes 2038 edition

Long in the lead in the race to host the Winter Games in 2030, then put forward as a candidate for the following edition, the Japanese city of Sapporo may finally postpone its Olympic project for another four years. The mayor of the capital of Hokkaido prefecture, Katsuhiro Akimoto, took advantage of a city council meeting to suggest focusing efforts on the Games in 2038. “If our bid for the 2034 Games is unsuccessful, I would like to meet again with the parties concerned for further discussions, explained Katsuhiro Akimoto, quoted by the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. The importance we attach to an Olympic bid will remain unchanged.” The mayor of Sapporo is not yet formally burying the Olympic project for 2034, but his remarks to the city’s elected representatives suggest that he no longer really believes in victory. With the IOC’s decision for a double vote 2030-2034, validated last week by the session in Mumbai, the Japanese city seems condemned to postpone its ambition. Indeed, Katsuhiro Akimoto has never concealed the fact that it would take time to regain the confidence of public opinion, which has been plagued by corruption scandals linked to the Tokyo 2020 Games. But Sapporo is running out of time, as the IOC Executive Board is due to select and announce the bids for the targeted dialogue phase at its next meeting, scheduled for November 29 to December 1 in Paris.