Ukraine withdraws 2022 Olympics bid

The city of Lviv backs out as a candidate for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving only three contenders in the running.

    IOC President Thomas Bach said it would be 'extremely difficult' to host the 2022 Games in Ukraine [EPA]
    IOC President Thomas Bach said it would be 'extremely difficult' to host the 2022 Games in Ukraine [EPA]

    The Ukrainian city of Lviv has withdrawn its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the third contender to drop out of the race so far.

    The city pulled out on Monday as a result of the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine, local officials said, adding that they would focus on bidding for the 2026 Winter Games instead.

    We remain convinced of the positive impact that hosting Olympic Games would have for the city of Lviv and the whole country.

    - Sergei Goncharov, Lviv bid CEO

    The decision came after talks between Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

    "We concluded that it would be extremely difficult to pursue the 2022 bid under current circumstances but that a future bid would make sense for Ukraine and Ukrainian sport," Bach said in a statement.

    The decision follows the earlier pull-outs of Stockholm and Krakow, Poland. The Swedish capital dropped out in December after politicians declined to provide financial support for the Games, while Krakow withdrew after 70 percent of the city's residents rejected the bid in a referendum.

    "Due to the current circumstances in Ukraine, we... felt that a bid for 2026 would make more sense. We remain convinced of the positive impact that hosting Olympic Games would have for the city of Lviv and the whole country," Lviv bid CEO Sergei Goncharov told The Associated Press news agency. 

    Lviv's announcement came exactly one week before the IOC selects a short list of finalists for the 2022 Games. Three cities are still in the running: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, and Oslo.

    The future of Oslo's bid remains uncertain, however, as the government has yet to support it, and recent polls suggest that more than half the population opposes hosting the Games.

    Earlier contenders St. Moritz-Davos and Munich also cancelled their bids after voters in Switzerland and Germany rejected the proposals in referendums.

    A final decision on the 2022 host city is expected to be announced in July 2015.

    SOURCE: AP


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