A national campaign to build support for a possible Olympic bid is underway in Germany — but officials there are no longer considering competing against Salt Lake City for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Games.

Instead, the German Olympic Sports Federation announced a decision will be made next year whether to bid for the 2038 or 2042 Winter Games, or for the 2036 or 2040 Summer Games, after gathering input through the initiative called, “Your ideas. Your Games.”

Last fall, the federation’s president, Thomas Weikert, told the German news media there was interest in bidding “as soon as possible” after a number of failed attempts. Germany hasn’t hosted an Olympics since Munich’s 1972 Summer Games.

Then, Weikert said the potential bids would be for either the 2036 Summer Games or the 2034 Winter Games, calling it “too late” to bid for 2030 because “everything is already in the works.”

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But a few months later, the International Olympic Committee delayed a decision on a 2030 Winter Games host, with a final vote moved to mid-2024. That opened up the race to new contenders in addition to Salt Lake City; Sapporo, Japan; and Vancouver, Canada.

Both Sweden and Switzerland are also now in talks to host under the new, less formal bidding process, along with a sixth country an IOC official confirmed last month but declined to identify.

Could that sixth candidate have been Germany, quietly weighing an earlier Winter Games bid with IOC officials behind the scenes? Toronto-based GamesBids.com producer Robert Livingstone doesn’t think so.

“I think this is really just starting now,” Livingstone said of Germany’s latest push for an Olympics, focused on what the federation said are the “suitable cities and states of Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, and North Rhine-Westphalia.”

He pointed out Germany has had trouble winning over voter support for previous bids, “so I don’t think they seriously thought they would do anything until they put this framework in place.”

The new initiative from Germany’s Olympic federation is an attempt to avoid seeing bids rejected at the ballot box, as happened with hopes of hosting the 2022 Winter Games in Munich and the 2024 Summer Games in Hamburg.

“Based on our past experience, we are committed to approaching the entire project differently and, above all, sensitively,” Stephan Brause, head of the federation’s Olympic bidding department, promised in a news release announcing the plans.

The news release also notes that Germany’s federal government has been “closely involved” since early 2023 in putting together what’s being called the “Olympic Bid Roadmap” but the federation is picking up the more than $1 million price tag.

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Livingstone said he “wouldn’t be surprised if Harbin is the sixth,” unidentified contender for 2030. Located in northern China and known as the “Ice City,” Harbin was just chosen by the Olympic Council of Asia to host the 2025 Asia Winter Games.

Unlike Beijing’s reliance on human-made snow during the 2022 Winter Games, he said Harbin is seen as “climate capable” of providing proper conditions for snow sports, while holding the Asia Winter Games means they’ll have the needed facilities in place ahead of 2030.

Bidding now could also put China in the mix for the possible rotation of future Winter Games among a set group of cities selected because of their ability to withstand global warming.

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“I can’t imagine China would want to miss out on that permanent pool, right? They’re going to be right in there,” Livingstone said, calling Harbin “their best option, I think. They’ll have the facilities, they have winter. It kind of adds up to me.”

At an October meeting, the IOC will discuss the impact of climate change and whether the Winter Games should be rotated, as well as if both the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games should be awarded at the same time.

IOC leaders are expected to advance their “preferred” picks for 2030 and 2034 to the contract negotiations stage of the bid process in December, but that decision could be made as soon as October.

Salt Lake City is bidding for either 2030 or 2034, but wants to wait until the later date to avoid competing for domestic sponsorships with the next Olympics in the United States, the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

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