The 2026 Olympic Games in Innsbruck-Tirol

  • The feasibility study carried out in the run-up to the decision whether Austria with Innsbruck and Tirol should bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was presented to the public at the end of June.

    International sports events have been and continue to be particularly important for the development of Tirol and its success as the leading sport and holiday destination in the Alps. The Innsbruck Winter Olympic Games of 1964 and 1976 played a significant role in the economic boom in Tirol that started in the 1950s, in particular by promoting the worldwide reputation of the region. The Games helped Innsbuck and Tirol evolve into internationally recognizable brands with top reputations as well- loved travel destinations. The region's image continues to be influenced by sports events and world championships. Thus a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, with clearly defined regional conditions, is a great opportunity for the region that needs our broad support.

    Basic Principles of the 2026 Olympic Games

    Ecologically responsible, socially sustainable, economically viable: these are the three pillars upon which the feasibility study is built, a study that demonstrates how it would be possible to hold an "Olympic Games within the bounds of moderation" in Tirol. In the study, experts analyzed the current infrastructure and existing conditions and followed the principal of using existing structures and taking local needs into consideration, rather than on meeting international demands.

    Moderate Olympic Games

    This shifts the "Tirolean Way"to the forefront, that is, to hold sustainable, economically viable and locally based Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Innsbruck and Tirol in 2026. The Olympics should not be an infrastructure project, but rather they should focus on sport and international exchange. For the first time in the history of the Winter Olympic Games, this event would be held using only preexisting and established venues.

    • The whole of Tirol should profit
    Aside from the extensive media presence of the event and the resulting advertising effect for Tirol as the leading tourism region in the Alps, many areas throughout the state would profit directly from this major event, for example, the Cross Country and Biathlon Centre in Obertilliach/Osttirol, the Axamer Lizum, etc.

    • Tirol is already "fit for the Olympics"
    Distributing the competitions throughout Tirol to pre-existing and established sports venues and facilities would make it possible to hold the Olympic Games without having to construct new sports facilities.

    • Reduced costs
    Already in the planning phase of these proposed Winter Olympic Games in Tirol, the focus will be on financing the games with a balanced budget and without public contributions of money being required. All the costs are calculated conservatively and expenditure is to be reduced as much as possible: what can’t be done, can’t be done.
    • Environmental sustainability as a principle
    The authors define the principles of the feasibility study as a contemporary understanding of sustainability and the setting of goals from the start that ensure the concept will be ecologically responsible and economically viable. Thus, for example, no additional natural surfaces in Tirol are to be used to hold the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

    • The Olympic fire burns throughout the state of Tirol
    Just as the competitions are to be distributed, so too the concept insists on a decentralized model of accommodation with the participants staying throughout Tirol. As well as an Olympic Centre in the "host city"of Innsbruck, the concept envisages accommodation for spectators, athletes, officials and members of the Olympic family in the external venues ("host mountain resorts"). The entire state of Tirol will help to hold the Olympic Games.

    •The Olympic village as a meaningful urban development
    According to the study, only 46 % of the athletes and officials (e.g. trainers) will be accommodated in the central Olympic village in Innsbruck.  To meet this need, a planned accommodation project at the Innsbruck freight railway station will be realized. This should be a sustainable project ensuring long-term, affordable living space for the local population.

    • A sustainable transport concept
    Calculations regarding the spectator capacity of venues are to be matched to available transportation resources – rather than the other way around. By accommodating the participants throughout the state, transportation needs and traffic problems will be reduced. In the selection process of competition venues, locations with rail connections were given preference (for example, St. Anton am Arlberg, Seefeld, Hochfilzen).

    The IOC also wants leaner games
    At the 130th Extraordinary IOC Session in Lausanne it was unanimously decided to simplify the bidding process for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games. This decision was seen by experts as a strong signal that there is a desire for a new tendency towards lighter, leaner Winter Olympic Games, as is proposed in the Tirolean feasibility study. Gigantism belongs to the past. In Sotschi alone, 100 million dollars were invested in the construction of a speed skating ice rink. The concept for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck-Tirol is quite different and would prefer to use existing facilities, even if that means moving an event to beyond the state boundaries, as in the case of Inzell in Bavaria.

    Why Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck - Tirol? 
    Tirol is a sports region. Innsbruck already showed us in 1964 and 1976 what the Olympic Games can do for a region. Fifty years later, we have another chance to show the world how we can do it even better, with lean, compact and sustainable games that focus on sport. The premiere Winter Youth Olympic Games held in Innsbruck in 2012 offered a glimpse of how games in large format might look in the future.

    You could call them Games based on common sense or Games that suit the Tirolean context and are in keeping with Innsbruck-Tirol's overall strategy. There are a number of facts that support a potential Tirolean application: 
    o    The recent renewal of sports facilities in the context of major events in the region, such as the Biathlon World Championships 2017 in Hochfilzen, the Rodel World Championships 2017 in Innsbruck-Igls and the Nordic Ski World Championships 2019 in Seefeld.
    o    Construction of new and desperately needed living space.
    o    Innsbruck-Tirol's position as the number one sports city and sports region.
    o    The fact that the IOC has already made it known that they would like the 2026 Winter Games to be reorganized, to better attend to the candidates'wishes and to drastically sink costs.
    In addition, with the Winter Olympic Games, existing modern sports facilities will find a further use and other infrastructure projects, such as the creation of urban living space, will also be advanced. Further, a great deal of knowledge and competence has been acquired in recent years in the process of hosting large-scale events. Thus with the innsbruck-tirol sports gmbh, a business that emerged from the Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games in 2012, the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC), the State of Tirol and the City of Innsbruck have a company that has extensive know-how in staging large-scale events.

    Call for information and supporters
    Access to knowledge and information is essential for making a well-informed decision about the 2026 bid. The website provides updated figures, data and facts about the 2026 Olympics in Tirol. For those who are interested, it is possible to register as a supporter of the bid on the website you can offer an opinion about open issues related to Tirol's bid and the Tirolean Olympic proposal. In September and October, in the context of an Olympic Roadshow, meetings will be held in all regions of Tirol with the motto "Olympia 2026 in Dialogue."

    We should act as some of the first Olympic ambassadors, actively seeking to shape public opinion and to pass on the facts. It is important that the public is informed about the focal points of the feasibility study!