Could Turkey Be the Host of the 2026 Winter Olympics?
In April 2017, the president of Turkey, Recep T. Erdogan told to the press that the Eastern city of Erzurum is the ideal location to host the Winter Olympics. He said preparations were being made to send a bid, but nothing has been heard since. And if they do, Turkey will be competing against other destinations like Sion in Switzerland, and Sapporo in Japan and the final chosen city will be revealed on September 2019 after members vote.
Applicants must fulfil specific requirements include a large variety of marked ski slopes, as well as extensive spaces for spectators and designated areas for V.I.P guests and members of the governing body. As the number one skiing destination in Turkey, Erzurum can provide this and much more.
Erzurum has already proven its worth by hosting the 2011 Winter Universiade, a famous competition between university athletes, and the 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival. They built a new ice hockey rink for the occasions, but as the highest altitude point in Turkey, this already sets it up as the top skiing destination in the country. The Palandoken Ski Centre in Erzurum with 22 different marked runs, including Olympic sized, makes a roaring trade from November to May. It also uniquely offers night-time skiing with illuminated runs. It connects with the Konakli ski slopes, and together they make up Edjer 3200 ski centre that includes 65 kilometres of trails and ultramodern ski facilities.
However, despite offering the best skiing conditions in the country, should Turkey submit a bid, they will be competing with some worthy contenders including Stockholm in Sweden and Calgary in Canada. Countries that have backed out of the process include Norway, Austria and Italy. The USA have delayed their applications until the 2030 winter Olympics.
So, for now, there is no word from the Turkish Olympic committee, but enthusiasts are keen to know whether Turkey will submit a bid. If it does, can Erzurum provide the large venues and facilities needed?
The deadline for applications to be the host city of the 2026 Winter Olympics is March the 31st 2018, and all eyes are on Turkey to see if they will commit to earlier suggestions that they were preparing a bid.