Italy to host 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina

Ross Houston
June 25, 2019

IOC President Thomas Bach attends a meeting with the Stockholm Are 2026 bid delegation including Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and Crown Princess Victoria ahead of the designation of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games host by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, June 23, 2019. The Washington Post reports the two hyphenated options reflect a move away from saddling a single city with the hosting burden, especially in light of the massive price tag that accompanies the Games.

Milan and Stockholm battled through the bidding process as four other bids, from Sion (Switzerland), Sapporo (Japan), Graz (Austria) and Calgary (Canada) all dropped out of the running due to concerns over the cost of hosting the event. Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden, while the ski-resort area of Are is 335 miles to the northwest.

IOC President Thomas Bach said "I would like to congratulate Milan Cortina for this victory, which for the IOC is a great day".

It was an attempt to revive Winter Games bidding with just two candidates on the ballot paper for the second straight time, since Russian Federation spent $51 billion on venues and infrastructure for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The IOC will elect the victor in a vote on Monday.

The bids for the 2026 games were 75 percent lower than the average budgets for the 2018 and 2022 candidates, the International Olympic Committee said.

Bach admitted Stockholm's reluctance to sign the Host City Contract may have counted against the Swedish bid with the electorate.

Italy last hosted the winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin while Cortina hosted the winter Games back in 1956.

"There is institutional support at every level, not only from the two host cities".

"This is the dream of an entire country, and not only the Government but also the regions".

The IOC did not award the 2030 Olympics, as some anticipated, leaving the games open for a United States bid. The U.S. Olympic Committee has previously expressed interest in bidding Salt Lake City again.

Had Stockholm won, it would've become just the second city to host both the Summer (1912) and Winter games. Europe, which historically has hosted, by far, the most Olympic Games (32, including those announced but not yet hosted), will have not hosted either from 2012 in London until 2024 in Paris.

The IOC praised both candidates for projecting sports budgets "on average 20% lower" than spending on the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Other reports by iNewsToday