Sweden is “totally ready to host the Winter Olympics”, the country's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said on Sunday, just a day before the IOC decides on who will stage the 2026 Winter Games.
The bid by Stockholm/Åre is facing Italy's Milan/Cortina d'Ampezzo in the race to stage the showpiece.
“Sweden is ready to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2026 and the Swedish government is very supportive,” said Löfven following a meeting of the Swedish delegation with IOC president Thomas Bach.
Swedish high jumper Stefan Holm, the 2004 Olympic champion in Athens and now a member of the IOC, added: “Sweden deserve the Games – Norway has had them twice, so it would be fair for Sweden to hav them.”
“Sweden is economically and politically stable,” added Holm.
His own country is torn on the matter. According to the IOC's own surveys, some 53 percent of Swedes are for hosting the Winter Olympics, compared to 83 percent of Italians.
“Let Italy host the Olympics,” read an editorial in regional newspaper UNT on the eve of the announcement.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will also be present in Lausanne on Monday and will address the IOC before the decision is announced at around 6pm.
In the absence of Conte on Sunday, the Italian delegation was led by Giovanni Malago, president of the Italian Olympic Committee and head of the Milan bid.
“We have a fantastic bid,” Malago said after meeting Bach at the Olympic Museum.
“Milan represents not only for me but for the rest of Europe the best city in Europe and perhaps in the world,” he added.
Italy has twice hosted the Winter Olympics – in 1956 in Cortina d'Ampezzo and 2006 in Turin.
Sweden has only hosted the Summer Olympics, in 1912 in Stockholm.