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Italy beats Sweden to host 2026 Winter Olympics

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Italy beats Sweden to host 2026 Winter Olympics
Members of the Italian delegation celebrate. Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP
17:45 CEST+02:00
Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo has been chosen to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, beating Stockholm-Åre's bid.

"Congratulations to Milan-Cortina," said International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach in a statement. "We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country."

"The passion and knowledge of Italian fans, together with experienced venue operators, will create the perfect atmosphere for the best athletes in the world. The Olympic Winter Games Milan-Cortina 2026 will feature iconic venues and beautiful settings, combining the attractions of a modern European metropolis with a classic Alpine environment," he added.

On the road to the 2026 decision, bids from Calgary, Graz in Austria, Japan's Sapporo and Sion in Switzerland fell by the wayside, mainly because of concerns over the cost or a lack of popular support. A bid by the Turkish ski resort of Erzurum was ruled out by the IOC in October 2018.

The bid by Stockholm and the Åre ski area – which hosted the World Ski Championships in February – appeared to be running out of steam a few months ago due to a lack of funding commitments, but the government later swung behind it.

But it failed to convince IOC delegates, who voted 47-34 in favour of Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo.

"Our bid is worthy of the highest consideration," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told delegates earlier on Monday. "If Italy is chosen, then work will start from this evening so that our Games leave a mark on history.

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

Italian Olympic 500m short track speed skating champion Arianna Fontana highlighted the climate advantages of the bid in her presentation. "Milan-Cortina will be the sunny part of the Winter Olympics, with an average ten hours of sunlight every day," she said earlier in the day.

Italy has twice hosted the Winter Olympics – in 1956 in Cortina d'Ampezzo and 2006 in Turin. Sweden has only hosted the Summer Olympics, in 1912 in Stockholm.

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