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Cooperation memorandum signed between Latvia and Sweden on joint bid to host 2026 Winter Olympics

STOCKHOLM - The Swedish capital Stockholm has signed a cooperation memorandum with Latvia on a joint Swedish/Latvian bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The cooperation agreement foresees that the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge events would be held at the Sigulda Track in Latvia.

The memorandum on the Latvian side was signed by Sigulda Mayor Ugis Mitrevics and the president of the Latvian Olympic Committee Aldons Vrublevskis.

''The cooperation memorandum was signed between Sigulda, the Latvian Olympic Committee and Swedish representative, and the agreement foresees the continuation of cooperation in the preparation process to submit Stockholm's Olympic bid,'' LOC press secretary Martins Malmeisters told LETA.

''At the moment this is just a document which foresees this cooperation, however, the rest will be dependent on the support the bid received from the city of Stockholm and the Swedish government. The Swedish government is supposed to make a final decision on the bid in the autumn,'' Malmeisters said. ''This candidacy is being headed by the Swedish side, and the situation is now in the hands of the Swedish government. It is hard to predict what the final decision will be. Sweden is holding election in the fall, and then it will be clear what the final decision will be.''

According to the Education and Science Ministry, the administration of the Sigulda Bobsleigh and Luge Track will carry out a feasibility study by September 15 on the possibilities to adjust the track for the Olympic competitions and related cost estimates.

By October 31, the Education and Science Ministry plans to draw up a plan of preparatory measures that have to be taken in the bidding process until September 2019, as well as a preliminary cost estimate of these measures.

If it is concluded that the Sigulda Bobsleigh and Luge Track can be adjusted for the Olympic Games and that holding the Olympic competitions there is economically feasible, a plan of preparations that have to be completed by 2026 will be drafted by March 31, 2019.

The question about the government’s support for Latvia’s participation in Stockholm’s Olympic bid will be considered in the context of Latvia’s 2019 budget.

The Education and Science Ministry points out that even though the Sigulda Track was constructed in 1986, it is in accordance with international standards to organize top level luge, skeleton and two-man bob competitions. The track currently cannot host four-man competitions, and this will be one of the projects included in the proposed reconstruction and renovation project of the track if the Stockholm bid is indeed granted the right to host the Winter Olympics in 2026.

Latvia has never hosted the Olympics, while Stockholm hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics and has been a candidate city six times in the past for the Winter Olympics, failing each time to win the bid.

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