STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ After nine unsuccesful bids by one of the great winter sports nations, the Swedish Olympic Committee has turned down plans by the city of Ostersund to bid for the 2006 Winter Games.

In an unanimous vote, the committee said the northern Swedish city of 60,000 was no more competitive in its bid than the last time it tried for the Olympics. It also said it would be impossible to get enough public support in Sweden for another bid.

Ostersund and nearby Are, which is Scandinavia's leading alpine ski resort, finished second in balloting for the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway, and third in the voting for the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan.

Lack of public support also was a problem in Stockholm's failed bid for the 2004 Summer Games, which will be held in Athens.

Ostersund spent $30 million on various winter sports facilities in the past few years, but it was not enough.

The Finnish capital, Helsinki, and Lillehammer plan a joint bid for the 2006 Games.

In 1990, the International Olympic Committee changed its charter to allow countries to share the games, and IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch suggested in Stockholm last week that Sweden could be a third partner with Finland and Norway.

The Swedes also lost narrowly for the 1988 and 1992 Winter Games, when Are bid with Falun, a Nordic ski hotbed in central Sweden. Are also lost earlier joints bids with other Swedish cities for the 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1984 Winter Olympics.