Report: Sapporo ‘reviewing’ bid promotion for 2030 Olympics

By Stephen Wade

TOKYO (AP) — Sapporo officials and the Japanese Olympic Committee are “reviewing” the promotion of their bid to land the 2030 Winter Games, news agency Kyodo reported Tuesday.

Kyodo gave few details and neither Sapporo officials nor the Japanese Olympic Committee could be immediately reached for comment. Kyodo did not indicate that officials had entirely scrapped the bid.

The Sapporo bid has been battered by a corruption scandal surrounding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sapporo had been considered the favorite for 2030, with Salt Lake City seen as the leader to land 2034.

The governor of the Hokkaido prefecture, Naomichi Suzuki, said last week that the scandal had been a blow to Sapporo’s chances.

The International Olympic Committee announced earlier this month that it might delay announcing a 2030 venue until 2024. It has been expected to make that announcement next year.

The IOC has also said it might award the 2030 and 2034 host cities at the same time.

With Sapporo looking less likely, Salt Lake City is the only known candidate. Vancouver appears to be out as a candidate after the provincial government of British Columbia said in October it would not fund a bid.

The 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in Milan-Cortina.

Support for the bid in Sapporo seems to be split, but city officials have declined to hold a public referendum. Public votes on funding the Olympics have consistently failed.

Salt Lake City has said it would prefer 2034, partly because it does not want to clash for sponsorships with the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

In 2015, the IOC had only two candidates for the 2022 Winter Olympics — Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan. It chose Beijing by four votes.

The Winter Olympics are becoming an increasingly difficult sell for the IOC, which has said it is concerned their are fewer “climate-reliable” cities able to hold the Games.

Sapporo, Salt Lake City and Vancouver have each held previous Winter Olympics.