Ukraine eyes Olympic bid despite economic struggles

July 16, 2019

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's new president has asked officials to consider a bid to host the Olympics, even with the economy still damaged by years of political turmoil.

Former comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was elected president in April, said Tuesday there should be a national plan to build and fund sports facilities for a future Olympic bid.

He didn't say whether Ukraine should target the Summer or Winter Olympics.

"We need a certain plan so that we, say, are able to build everything in three or four years, and then we can get in line and host the Olympics. We should be ambitious," Zelenskiy said in comments on the presidential website.

Sergei Bubka, the former pole vaulter who runs the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, suggested the Youth Olympic Games might be a more realistic aim for now. Ukraine has already missed the deadline to apply for the 2026 Winter Olympics, making the 2030 Winter Olympics or 2032 Summer Olympics the next possible targets.

Ukraine entered a bid to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics in the city of Lviv, but abandoned that in 2014, shortly after months of protests forced then-President Viktor Yanukovych from office.

Ukraine previously co-hosted the 2012 European soccer championship with Poland, but an Olympic bid would require much more spending.

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