WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Krakow is dropping its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics after residents voted overwhelmingly against the plan, the Polish city's mayor said Monday in the latest blow to a race already in disarray.
Almost 70 percent of voters opted against hosting the games in the referendum on Sunday. The turnout was nearly 36 percent, enough to make the vote valid.
Krakow Mayor Jacek Majchrowski said he will inform the International Olympic Committee that he is withdrawing the city's bid.
"Krakow is closing its efforts to be the host of the 2022 Winter Games due to the low support for the idea among the residents," he said in a statement. "I regret that the referendum has put a definite end to ... the project that I considered to be very important for the development of the whole region."
Krakow proposed hosting the games together with neighboring Slovakia. Some of the events were also to have been held in Poland's Tatra Mountain resort of Zakopane.
The candidacy was rocked in April when bid leader Jagna Marczulajtis-Walczak resigned following allegations her husband offered money to journalists in return for favorable stories.
Majchrowski said that under the leadership of Marczulajtis-Walczak the previous bid team had "squandered" the popular trust and backing for the project, while the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk did not show sufficient enthusiasm.
Krakow is the second city to pull out of the contest, after Stockholm withdrew in December because of concerns over the financial costs.
The Polish city's withdrawal leaves four contenders in the 2022 field — Almaty, Kazahkstan; Beijing; Lviv, Ukraine; and Oslo, Norway.
Krakow's decision comes six weeks before the IOC executive board meets in Lausanne, Switzerland, to select a short list of finalists. With so much uncertainty, it's possible the IOC could be left with only two uncontested bids.
The fate of two other bids — Lviv and Oslo — also remains in the balance.
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