June 6 - A bid from Stockholm for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics is likely to be on the horizon after the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK) claimed there is positive support for the prospect, despite a lack of enthusiasm from the nation's Government.
"It's a dream of an Olympics to inspire, attract more sports and an active life, about getting new opportunities to develop the sport," read a SOK statement, which proposes the Games take place in the Swedish capital, but with the alpine skiing to be held in Åre.
"But also to show ourselves and the world that we are prepared to invest in the future, that we have a positive climate for development and that we have the capacity to proudly invite the world."
SOK President Stefan Lindeberg claimed the city "already has the majority of what is necessary" in place to host a Games, but he is under no illusions about how the Swedish Government would react to the idea.
"The Swedish Government has in the past expressed scepticism about the chances of the country [hosting a Winter Olympics]," he admitted.
"But it may be a unique opportunity that we have.
"It's worth trying."
The Government is likely to be cynical about a Games bid, having failed on several occasions in recent history to secure an Olympics.
Stockholm, which last hosted an Olympics in 1912, was a candidate for the 2004 Summer Olympics but was beaten by Athens in the final round, while Winter Games bids from Gothenburg in 1984, Falun in 1988 and 1992, and Östersund in 1998 and 2002 all failed to woo the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
After the last disappointment, the Swedish Government succumbed to defeat and said it found it difficult to see a future Olympic Games in Sweden.
"I do not see the possibilities," Sports Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth admitted at the time.
"It becomes difficult for a country the size of Sweden."
However, Lindeberg was quick to quash any negativity towards a new bid.
"It will be the most concentrated Winter Games ever," he told insidethegames.
He also claimed that Sochi, the Russian host of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, serves as a perfect example that building a Games from scratch can be done with success.
"The Winter Olympics has grown over the years and the suit was not quite enough to Östersund," Lindeberg explained.
"But we would not let go of the dream of an Olympics and then turned this idea up.
"A Swedish Olympics is expected to cost 15-20 billion [krona] and can be compared to the Sochi Olympics in 2014 declared at 300 billion [krona].
"Sochi is one of our best arguments, everyone knows how the costs have pulled off there.
"They had nothing and have had to build everything from scratch.
"Stockholm already has everything.
"We have an existing infrastructure, good transport links and great hotel capacity.
"We have two new large venues that can be used.
"The big investment is an Olympic Village.
"But it will then be made in such a way that it could be residential or student accommodation afterwards."
The SOK has invited its national sports federations to a special meeting to discuss the proposal in Stockholm on June 24.
"We will meet all the federations later in June," Lindeberg told insidethegames.
"We will work with the concept and dig deeper into the figures during summer.
"It is an extraordinary opportunity with perfect timing in relation to the growth and investments being done in Stockholm.
"Stockholm will be of perfect size for the Winter Games offering top quality without extravagant extraordinary investments just for the Games.
"Cost efficient and sustainable bringing sports and the Olympic spirit, also as a legacy, into the city landscape and the daily life of its people."
Should Stockholm go forward as a candidate it could have a Scandinavian rival in Oslo, whose bid was backed by the City Council yesterday but still faces a public referendum on the plans in September.
Cities have until November 14 of this year to submit an initial expression of interest to the IOC, with the 2022 host nation to be named at the 127th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur in July 2015.
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