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Berlin: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed on Wednesday that the French Alps and Salt Lake City in the United States are the preferred hosts of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympics respectively. Both candidates were invited into targeted dialogues towards hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Switzerland and Sweden had also declared interest in hosting the 2030 Games. Japan’s Sapporo had already withdrawn from 2030 amid a widening bribery affair around the Tokyo 2020 Games, while Canada’s Vancouver quit had quite from the race for 2034 over financial uncertainty. “The IOC will now start more detailed discussions with the preferred hosts, led by their National Olympic Committees (NOCs), with the aim of awarding both editions at the 142nd IOC Session in July in Paris,” the Olympic body said after a executive board meeting on Wednesday. The 2026 Winter Olympics are in Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, while France is hosting the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. “What really stood out about the French Alps and Salt Lake City-Utah projects was their vision for the athlete experience, their alignment with regional and national socio-economic development plans, and their very strong support from the public and from all levels of government,” IOC member Karl Stoss said. The 2030 host was originally to be elected at the IOC Session in Mumbai in October, but that vote was pushed back to to give the IOC more time to study the impact of climate change. The Olympic body, therefore, approved a double allocation of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympics next year. “This allows the IOC time to reflect on the long-term future of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, given the preliminary results of studies it has commissioned on the impact of climate change,” it said. The IOC said that two reports have shown that only 10 countries would be able to stage Winter Olympics by 2040, based on IOC requirements including average temperature and sustainability via existing venues. (DPA)

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