Italy's Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo awarded 2026 Winter Olympic Games

Tanya Simon
June 25, 2019

Milan-Cortina will host the 2026 Winter Games after beating Swedish rival Stockholm-Are in a vote of the International Olympic Committee's members in Lausanne on Monday.

The IOC will support the staging of the Olympic Winter Games Milan-Cortina with a contribution of 925 million United States dollars.

The joint bid by the city of Milan and the ski resort of Cortina on Monday won 47 votes, edging out the candidacy from Sweden's Stockholm and Are, which received 34 votes at the session in Lausanne. 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.

The Swedish capital is up against Italy's Milan, with the two cities left as the only bidders in the race, after four others pulled out earlier in the process, scared off by the cost and size of the Games.

Sweden's spirited late-campaign effort was in vain, and included the mayor of Stockholm appealing to voters from the stage by singing a line from the Abba song "Dancing Queen". The 2018 Games were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Beijing will host the 2022 Games. "Italia!" when the result was announced, giving the Alpine country a second Winter Games in 20 years.

Italy won the bid over Stockholm-Are, of Sweden, to host the Winter Games.

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A total of 82 International Olympic Committee members are reportedly likely to cast votes in the ballot to decide the host city, meaning a simple majority of 42 will be required to win. In contrast, Sweden has never hosted a Winter Olympics.

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

The IOC will contribute at least $925 million toward Italy's games operating costs of up to $1.7 billion.

As the 2026 bid seemed on shaky ground last summer and fall, questions arose about whether or not Salt Lake could be an emergency host for the 2026 Games in a worst-case scenario for the IOC.

So far, only Sapporo, Japan, has expressed interest in bidding for 2030, although Sweden might make yet another try for a Winter Games, after being turned down eight times over 41 years. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven made a last-ditch appeal on Sunday, saying, "The Swedish government stands fully behind this candidacy and we look forward to delivering it", but just over half of Swedes were in favour of the country being awarded the Games, according to an IOC-commissioned poll.

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