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The IOC was keen to see more bidders emerge for the 2026 games after only two candidates for the 2022 event made it through to the voting stage. "Our goal is not just to have a record number of candidates, but ultimately it is to select the best city to stage the best Olympic Winter Games for the best athletes of the world", said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The IOC is touting that as the catalyst for a group of seven National Olympic Committees it announced today as officially interested in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.

In the bold-type preamble in Tuesday's release, the United States is the only nation mentioned by name, despite the focus being the 2026 bid campaign.

A young girl learns to skate on the ice at the 1988 Calgary Olympic Plaza on a warm day in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014.

Under the new dialogue stage, the International Olympic Committee will provide the 2026 bidding cities and their NOCs with greater support, technical advice, communications assistance and materials than ever before "to develop the best possible candidature".




With only two cities left interested in the 2024 Olympics, the IOC awarded Paris those hosting duties and also promised 2028 to Los Angeles, setting up hosts for the next decade before more bids could be torpedoed by the potential host cities themselves.

Dubi said it's important for Calgary to make sure that any budget put forward is strong and down to the last detail.

"We don't see a problem with this, on the contrary", said Dubi.

Alongside Erzurum, Canada's Calgary, Austria's Graz, Swedish capital Stockholm, Sion in Switzerland, Japan's Sapporo and a joint bid from Italy's Cortina d'Ampezzo, Milan and Turin are all in the initial process. The deadline for joining the dialogue stage was March 31. Turin, which hosted the 2006 Games, is part of a joint bid with Milan.


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