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Anchorage mulls 2026 Winter Olympics bid

September 12, 2013

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to consider a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Anchorage has made a number of attempts to host the winter Olympics. For the 1992 and 1994 winter games, the city won the American bid, but lost to Albertville, France, and Lillehammer, Norway, respectively, when it made its pitch to the International Olympic Committee.For the 2002 Winter Olympics bid, Anchorage lost domestically to Salt Lake City by one vote on the United States Olympic Committee in 1995. Anchorage could look to the highly successful 2010 Vancouver games as role model. 

Anchorage is well positioned to host, given that it is equidistant from northern Europe and northern Asia, and in a prime spot for live television.  By most metrics, the city is better poised to host the games. For example, in the 1980s, Anchorage had 3,500 hotel rooms, now, there are about 8,600.

The Winter Olympics includes 15 sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, hockey, luge, nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard, and speed skating.

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA) is the world’s third busiest airport for cargo traffic, surpassed only by Memphis and Hong Kong. This traffic is strongly linked to Anchorage’s location along “great circle” routes between Asia and the lower 48. In addition, the airport has an abundant supply of jet fuel from in-state refineries located in North Pole and Kenai. This jet fuel is transported to the Port of Anchorage, then by rail or pipeline to the airport.

According to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers report, between 2003 and 2008, 20,780 jobs were produced in BC and another 1,750 jobs across Canada through inter-provincial trade; more than 800 new business were created as a result of incremental economic growth stimulated by the Games.


The advantage of an Anchorage bid is location, location, location. The costs would be lower than the extravagance ($10 B +) being shown for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The Vancouver games cost around $6B. Funding for an Anchorage bid would be critical, as would accommodations for the throngs of people.