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Poland considering bid to host 2034 Winter Olympics: sports minister

Poland’s sports minister Kamil Bortniczuk has not ruled out that Poland will seek organizer status for the 2034 Winter Olympics. “Poland can afford to organize such a big event in the coming decades,” he told the Polsat News commercial broadcaster.

Poland will host the European Games this year, which are to be held in Kraków and the Małopolska province.

“This is the largest multidisciplinary event in the history of Poland and the largest in the world in 2023. If it proves to be an organizational success, we will intensify our talks with the Slovaks to make a joint effort to have the Olympic Games in Poland,” Bortniczuk announced.

The European Games, which is a continental multi-sport event in the Olympic tradition contested by athletes from European nations and several transcontinental countries, will be held between June 21 and July 2.

Bortniczuk also reiterated the previously expressed position of the sports ministers of some 30 countries, who favor the exclusion of Russians and Belarusians from next year’s Olympic Games in Paris due to the war in Ukraine.

In January, the International Olympic Committee announced that it would seek to admit athletes from the aggressor countries to the event, but under a neutral flag.

Bortniczuk stated that it is too early to threaten a boycott of the Games.

“A boycott is the strongest card we have in our deck. It is always painful for athletes, who often have one or two chances throughout their careers to compete at the Olympic Games for a medal. If such decisions have to be made, I can’t imagine that we will make them without consulting the athletes. There is still time to use softer measures in order to motivate the IOC into self-reflection,” he assessed.

At an online meeting with representatives of 35 countries on Friday, Bortniczuk proposed the creation of a refugee national team, which could include athletes who oppose the regimes of Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

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