Surprise! Politicians back an Olympic bid
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Here's a change: An Olympic bid has received an overwhelming vote of financial support.
With politicians and voters in Europe increasingly saying "no" to the idea of hosting the Olympics, Swiss deputies in the canton of Vaud broke the trend by giving full backing to Lausanne's bid to host the Winter Youth Games in 2020.
The state assembly voted in favor of contributing 8 million Swiss francs ($9 million) to the proposed operational budget of the games and offering financial guarantees in case of any shortfall.
Tuesday's vote was 101 in favor, one against, and 15 abstentions, all by Green Party deputies.
The city of Lausanne voted in favor of the same amounts in March, and the federal government will also contribute to the estimated total budget of 36 million Swiss francs ($40 million) if the bid is successful.
The vote of support comes after a series of rejections by potential host cities for the full Olympics.
Krakow withdrew its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics last month after Poles voted against the project in a referendum, while Stockholm pulled out in December when politicians declined to give financial backing. Munich and Davos-St. Moritz dropped plans to bid for 2022 after voters in Germany and Switzerland voted "no" in referendums.
Lausanne is competing against Brasov, Romania, for the 2020 Youth Games, which features about 1,000 young athletes. Innsbruck, Austria, hosted the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in 2012, while Lillehammer, Norway will stage the 2016 event.
Lausanne and Brasov must submit detailed bid files to the International Olympic Committee next week. The IOC is headquartered in Lausanne.
The host city will be selected in July or August 2015.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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