Sapporo Withdraws Bid For 2030 Winter Olympics Amid Corruption Fallout
In a significant turn of events, the city of Sapporo withdraws bid for 2030 Winter Olympics amid corruption fallout.
This decision comes as a result of public sentiment souring in the wake of widespread bribery and bid-rigging scandals related to the Tokyo Games held in the summer of 2021.
Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido in northern Japan, had been seen as a potential frontrunner to host the 2030 Winter Olympics for the second time, following their successful hosting in 1972.
However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has shifted its focus to other candidates.
Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto and JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita agreed to aim for the 2034 Olympics or beyond during a recent meeting in Tokyo.
The move is seen as an effort to prevent an "irrecoverable wound on the value of sports," as stated by Yamashita. Akimoto acknowledges the difficulties ahead for the 2034 bid.
We could not gain understanding from the citizens. There has been a widespread sense of uneasiness among the citizens about the criminal cases related to the 2020 Tokyo Games, and they are also worried about their financial burden for hosting the Games.- Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto
There's a possibility that moving forward with the bid movement too hastily will leave an irrecoverable wound on the value of sports. I'm sorry for the people of Sapporo and Hokkaido.- JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita
Salt Lake City is currently considered the favorite to host the 2034 Winter Olympics, leaving Japan with an uncertain path to its third Winter Games.
The competition has become even steeper with Sweden, Switzerland, and France considering bids for the 2030 Games.
The possibility of the IOC making a simultaneous announcement of the 2030 and 2034 hosts could further complicate Sapporo's prospects.
If the 2034 host is revealed next summer at the IOC Session in Paris, Sapporo will have limited time to prepare a new bid and garner public support.
The corruption scandals linked to the Tokyo Olympics have cast a shadow over the entire Olympic movement in Japan.
The scandal is centered around a former executive at the advertising giant Dentsu, who wielded significant influence in securing sponsorships for the Tokyo Games.
This situation has tarnished the Olympic image in Japan and dampened enthusiasm for future bids.
While Sapporo remains hopeful of a potential 2034 bid, the road ahead is challenging. The scars from the Tokyo Games corruption scandal run deep, raising questions about the future of Olympic ambitions in Japan.
Several people have been prosecuted for their alleged roles in manipulating bids for contracts worth roughly 43.7 billion yen ($290 million) to design and operate Olympic test events and contests, including Yasuo Mori, a former operations officer on the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, and a former Dentsu executive.
The allegations of bid rigging followed multiple indictments of Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive of the organizing committee and senior managing director at advertising giant Dentsu, on charges of accepting bribes from companies in exchange for assisting them in being chosen as Olympic sponsors or marketing agents.
The decision by Sapporo and the Japanese Olympic Committee to withdraw their bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, aiming instead for 2034 or later, reflects the deep impact of the corruption and bid-rigging scandals surrounding the Tokyo Games.
Public trust has eroded significantly due to these controversies, making the path to future Olympic bids challenging.
The prospects of Sapporo hosting the 2034 Games are uncertain, with strong contenders like Salt Lake City in the running. The IOC's potential simultaneous announcement for 2030 and 2034 hosts adds another layer of complexity.
The scars left by the Tokyo Games corruption scandal may continue to affect Japan's Olympic ambitions and influence public sentiment regarding future bids.