Sapporo expected to drop out of 2026 Winter Olympic bid race

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1972, file photo, members of Japan's self-defense ground forces raise Olympic Flags in Sapporo at Makomanai speed skating stad

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1972, file photo, members of Japan's self-defense ground forces raise Olympic Flags in Sapporo at Makomanai speed skating stad

FILE - In this May 14, 2018, file photo, Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto, center left, and Tsunekazu Takeda, center right, an IOC member and head of t

FILE - In this May 14, 2018, file photo, Sapporo Mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto, center left, and Tsunekazu Takeda, center right, an IOC member and head of t

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese city of Sapporo is expected to withdraw from bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics, leaving four candidates as the IOC finds it increasingly difficult to find hosts — particularly for the Winter Games.

A city official says Deputy Mayor Takatohsi Machida and Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda will meet International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Monday.

City spokesman Akihiro Okumura says the two will brief Bach about an earthquake a week ago in the northern region that killed about 40 people.

He says "we haven't officially announced other items to be discussed with the IOC, however, I understand various matters might come up."

The withdrawal — widely reported in Japan — isn't a shock. City officials said four months ago that the city was better prepared to bid for the 2030 Games.

The IOC will name the winning bidder a year from now. The four contenders are: Stockholm, Sweden; Calgary, Canada; a joint Italian bid from Turin, Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo; and Erzurum, Turkey.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports