Italy Wins Bid for 2026 Winter Olympics, to Be Hosted in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo
The opportunity to host the winter games in 2026 has been met with notable enthusiasm by Italy’s authorities.
Italy’s Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo have won the right to host the 2016 Winter Olympics, defeating Sweden’s capital Stockholm in the final round of voting at the International Olympic Committee.
“Congratulations to Milan-Cortina. We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country,” IOC President Thomas Bach said after announcing the winner.
“We will contribute to the success of these Games 925 million dollars. This will greatly facilitate the preparations and will be an important part of a great partnership we will enjoy with Cortina and Milan,” he added.
Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo earned 47 votes from the International Olympic Committee membership on Monday. Stockholm, on the other hand, remained with 34 votes.
“Italy, the future and sports have won,” Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said back in Italy, as cited by Reuters.
“Thanks to those who believed in it right away, especially in the Municipalities and Regions, and a pity for those who gave up,” he added.
“There will be at least five billion (euros) in added value, 20,000 jobs, as well as many new roads and sports facilities. With the Winter Olympics we will confirm our excellence and our skills to the world,” Salvini elaborated.
Milan and Stockholm had remained the only candidates left to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Other bidders – Switzerland’s Sion, Japan’s Sapporo, Austria’s Graz, and Canada’s Calgary, which hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1988 – all dropped out of the race with concerns over the size and cost of the event. Another bidder, Turkey’s Erzurum, was turned down by the IOC.
The organizational budget for the 2026 Winter Olympics is projected at USD 1.7 billion. The figure, however, does not include spending for infrastructure projects.
According to IOC President Bach, the strong public support in Italy of over 80% was a key factor for Milan and Cortina’s win.
Stockholm, on the other hand, had just over 50% of local support in a recent IOC-commissioned poll.
Another negative factor was Stockholm’s refusal to sign the host contract if the city won was another factor. Co-hosts Are would have signed it instead.
“Gathering a bit the atmosphere when leaving the room my assumption is that what made the difference was the gap in the public support,” Bach said.
“Public support goes hand in hand with political support and this was maybe also the reason why the city of Stockholm was not ready to sign the host city contract,” he explained.
Italy last hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin. Cortina also staged the Winter Games back in 1956.
“I am really emotional because this is a very, very important result,” said Italian bid chief Giovanni Malago.
“Not only for me but for the whole country. What we did this afternoon is we represented successfully the images of our country,” he stated.
Sweden has now bid eight times unsuccessfully for the Winter Olympics. Sweden also failed to land the 2004 Summer Olympics. It hosted the Summer Olympics in 1912.
(Banner image: Pixabay)