February 6 - Pole vault legend Sergey Bubka has revealed that Ukraine are plotting a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of a strategy to help develop the west of the country, one of the more underprivileged parts of the nation.
The 2022 bid process is in the early stages with the winning bid not set to be announced until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in 2015 in a city yet to be chosen.
A number of high profile cities are currentlyconsidering bidding for the event including Denver in the United States, Oslo in Norway and Barcelona in Spain.
But the influential Bubka, who is President of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee, vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and an IOC member, admitted that the lesser known region of western Ukraine wants to bid for the event to boost the economic prospects in the area.
"We have had discussions with our President Viktor Yanukovych about an Olympic bid and also discussions with Borys Kolesnikov, our vice Prime Minister who is in charge of Euro 2012," Bubka told insidethegames here.
"They have agreed to do a study to see if an Olympic bid is possible and they are very supportive of the idea.
"Our target would be the Winter Games rather than the Summer Games because in the western part of the country, we have the Carpathian Mountains.
"They are in an area that is poor and the Games could be a way to help develop the region.
"Some of the region is developed and some of the resources are in place but if we can go for the Olympics, it would really help accelerate the development there which would be very good.
"At the moment, there are not many jobs in the west of Ukraine but an Olympic project would help to create a lot of jobs and stop people from the area moving away in order to find work."
The Carpathian Mountains (pictured) would appear an ideal location for a Winter Olympic as they are the second-longest mountain range in Europe and considered one of the most picturesque locations in the continent.
The nearby city of Lviv has been mentioned as the Ukrainian 2022 bid candidate and while Bubka admitted there is not much winter sport infrastructure in the area at present; he believes an Olympic bid would change everything and turn the area into a major tourist destination for winter sport enthusiasts.
"An Olympics would certainly help infrastructure in the area because we don't have any winter sport facilities right now and we would be able to build them," he said.
"Ukraine is a sporting nation but it is a not a winter sport nation right now.
"We are strong in the sports of figure skating and biathlon but in the future, winter sport in the country must be developed and an Olympics would provide the facilities for both top athletes and tourists."
Sochi in Russia are set to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, while Pyeongchang in South Korea emphatically won the right to stage the 2018 Winter Olympics at the IOC Session in Durban last year, beating off competition from Munich and Annecy in the first round of voting.
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