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Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings

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Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism
12:00 CEST+02:00
Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

In May the two cantons launched their joint candidacy under the banner ‘The Swiss Made Winter Games 2026’.

But at the time no host city within the two cantons had been chosen as the focus of the bid, though both Lausanne, in Vaud, and Sion, in the Valais, had expressed interest.

But now Montreux has trumped them both to become the first city to officially put itself forward as host city.

Speaking to 24 Heures on Thursday, Bernard Rüeger, president of the Vaud Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CVCI) and head of Vaud’s side of the bid, said Montreux “is endowed with a strong hotel offering, particularly within the luxury sector.”

It has the technological infrastructure and is well known by tourists, especially the British, he added.

“Montreux has a real past as a winter sports town,” added mayor Laurent Wehrli.

While Sion is still considering putting itself forward, Lausanne is looking less likely, according to the paper.

The so-called ‘Olympic city’ is already hosting the 2020 Youth Winter Games, and hosting a second Games could be “negative” for the city, according to Jörg Schild, president of Swiss Olympic, Switzerland’s national Olympic committee.

What’s more, Lausanne isn’t close enough to the mountains for Swiss Olympic, which wants to present a candidacy that proposes bringing the Games back to the Alps.

Sion – a jumping off point for ski resorts including Crans Montana and Nendaz – would be much better placed in that respect, it feels.

The host city for the Vaud-Valais candidacy will be selected by its organization committee on December 15th, before the proposal is submitted to Swiss Olympic.

However the two cantons are not the only Swiss regions interested in hosting the 2026 games.

The Swiss capital Bern has also expressed its interest, as has the canton of Graubünden, which includes the ski resorts of St Moritz and Davos- Kloster.

Next spring Swiss Olympic will select which candidate, if any, to put forward to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as Switzerland’s official bid for 2026.

However the decision will also be dependent on the outcome of a referendum on the subject in the cantons concerned.

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