- Created on Monday, 30 January 2012 09:31
The 68-year-old president of the International Ski Federation Gian Franco Kasper has been to every Winter Olympics in his lifetime since the competition came to his hometown of St Moritz, a week after his fourth birthday in 1948.
And now the ski chief is driving a proposal to bring the Games back in 2022 as part of a joint venture with nearby fellow glitzy resort Davos. If the bid’s successful, it’ll be the third time St Moritz has hosted the Winter Games.
Kasper acknowledges the project is deeply personal. He told the Associated Press, “My grandfather was involved in 1928, and my father was president – though not for the whole time – of the 1948 Olympics. It would be extremely important to me. It’s my hometown and my wish, of course.”
Kasper announced the proposal at the weekend when both resorts were in the spotlight – Davos for hosting the World Economic Forum, St Moritz for staging World Cup ski races and luge.
But before the bid can be finalised, it has to be approved by a referendum of almost 200 districts in the canton (state) of Graubenden.
While Kasper’s family has been in the region for 400 years, he’s cautious about a possible opposition alliance of farmers, environmentalists and socialists.
“This will be very difficult,” he said. “Why should the people of Arosa or Laax or Flims say, ‘We shall spend our tax money for the rich people in St. Moritz?’
“If they say no, that is the end of it.”
Another concern is that a mid-February Olympics would make Davos unable to host the World Economic Forum in its usual slot, and perhaps it would not return.
If the Olympics was to return in 2022, it is proposed that many of the 1948 venues would be used but with some renovations, including the ski jumping hill.
Other destinations rumoured to be considering making a bid for the 2022 Winter Games include Denver Colorado, Renoe-Tahoe Nevada, Barcelona, Spain, Oslo, Norway, and Almaty, Kazakhstan.