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Milan-Cortina wins vote to host 2026 Winter Olympics

Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo will host the 2026 Winter Olympics after the Italian bid defeated Swedish rival Stockholm-Are 47-34 in a vote by International Olympic Committee members in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

The vote, competitive but decisive, returns the Olympic Games to northern Italy after just 20 years as Turin played host to the 2006 Winter Olympics, while Alpine ski resort Cortina previously was the site for the 1956 Winter Olympics and had been previously selected to serve as host in 1944 before that event was canceled due to World War II.

Sweden’s wait for a first Winter games continues, despite a historically strong record of competitive strength by its athletes that includes 158 medals, most of any country to not have hosted.

Skating sports and ice hockey, as well as the Opening Ceremonies, for 2026 will be held in Milan, while most alpine skiing events will take place in Cortina. Other venues in the Italian Alps, including Bormio and Livigno, will also host some snow-based sports.

The announcement marks the Games’ return to Europe, with the event having been hosted by Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018, with Beijing hosting in 2022. “We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The selection of Milan-Cortina also sets up a sequence in which the next five Summer and Winter Olympics will be held in Tokyo (2020 Summer), Beijing (2022 Winter), Paris (2024 Summer), Milan (2026 Winter), and Los Angeles (2028 Summer), all large, established cities that pull the Olympic movement away from a brief, largely unsuccessful attempt to use the Games as a large-scale economic development vehicle.

Milan-Cortina and Stockholm-Are were only two candidates in the running after multiple other bidders dropped out of the race with concerns over the event’s size and cost. The IOC will contribute at least $925m toward Italy’s operating costs of up to $1.7bn.

The IOC also announced earlier on Monday that it has signed its first joint partnership with Coca-Cola and China Mengniu Dairy Company.

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