Reforms announced in December by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sparked hope that the Olympic torch would come to Denmark.
But at a Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF) meeting on Thursday, national sport leaders seemed to pour cold water on the idea. At least for now.
IOC president Thomas Bach was in Copenhagen for a DIF congress, where he reiterated that Denmark could have a real chance to host the Games.
“Agenda 2020 [the bidding reform, ed.] opens the door for smaller countries and cities by reducing the criteria on, for example, stadiums. We don’t need so many permanent sport arenas and I can only encourage Copenhagen to seriously consider the possibility of going for it,” Bach said, as quoted by Jyllands-Posten.
But DIF chairman Niels Nygaard, while saying it was “of course exciting that the IOC president named it directly”, said Copenhagen is unlikely to be ready to host the world’s largest sporting event anytime soon.
“Do we have sufficient facilities to accommodate the Olympics? On that point alone, in my view we need to look much further out into the future before we can talk about this seriously,” he said, according to Jyllands-Posten.
In December, the IOC approved changes to the bidding process that will make it easier and more affordable for smaller countries to compete to host the Olympics. That led to speculation that Denmark might team up with Sweden and Norway for a future bid, or even back Germany for Hamburg’s bid to host the 2024 Games.
Nygaard said that even with the IOC changes, Denmark is still a decided long-shot to land the Olympics.
“IOC has clearly made it possible for more [countries] to bid, but getting from there to making it realistic is something else entirely, at least in the short and medium term. There are many organizers ready in Germany, Paris, Rome, Boston and other places that can offer significantly more,” the DIF chairman said.
When the IOC announced its reform in December, Gerhard Heiberg, a Norwegian member of the IOC, said he hoped Copenhagen would lead the way for a Scandinavian Olympic bid.
“You can easily imagine Copenhagen going together with Malmö or Gothenburg, or even Oslo, and I am positive that a Scandinavian bid would be taken seriously,” Heiberg told Politiken.
Heiberg is one of six Scandinavians among the IOC’s 104 members. Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik is also an IOC member and participated in Thursday’s DIF congress.