The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has begun its 134th Session in Lausanne, where the host of the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will be chosen.
The two remaining candidate cities, Milan-Cortina and Stockholm Åre, will deliver presentations and take questions from the audience at the one-day conference before the final decision is put to a majority vote of IOC members.
The race to host the 2026 event represents a test of the IOC’s ‘New Norm’ bidding reforms, which have been designed to make hosting the Games more appealing to prospective host cities. Agreed at the 127th IOC session in Monaco in 2014, they recommend maximum use of existing facilities and temporary venues, only building permanent new venues if they have viable long-term business plans.
In an interview with SportBusiness in December last year, IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said the cross-country venue in Stockholm and the multi-sports hall in Milan, that form part of each bid, were examples of new permanent venues that are underpinned by strong business rationales. Stockholm’s bid also includes provisions to host its bobsled competition in nearby Latvia to keep costs down.
Milan-Cortina is thought to be the favourite, although the Swedish bid hopes that the joint ticket with Latvia will help to sway IOC voters.
Italy has hosted the Winter Olympics twice previously, in Cortina in 1956 and Turin in 2006. Sweden hosted the Summer Olympics in 1912 but has never hosted the Winter Games.
The IOC also announced earlier today it has signed its first joint partnership with Coca-Cola and China Mengniu Dairy Company. The partnership combines the non-alcoholic beverage and the dairy categories into a new joint category and brings Chinese dairy company Mengniu into the IOC’s Worldwide TOP Partner programme.