The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has opted to change course with its bid for the 2026 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games by putting forward a joint proposal from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Milan and Turin.
The CONI National Council has unanimously decided to send the “innovative project” to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). CONI last month decided to push forward with a bid for the 2026 Games, but delayed reaching a verdict on which of the three proposals to back.
Under the CONI vision, Alpine skiing and sliding events would be held in Cortina, with Nordic Combined and ski jumping taking place in nearby Val di Fiemme. Snow sports events would also take place in Livigno, Valtellina and Bormio.
Milan would be the destination for sports including curling, ice hockey, short track speed skating and figure skating. Speed skating and ice hockey would also be hosted in Turin, with slalom Alpine skiing in nearby Sestriere.
CONI said in a statement: “The National Council has unanimously decided to send to the IOC the nomination proposal for the Olympic winter and Paralympic Games of 2026 for the cities of Milan, Turin and Cortina – an innovative project, aimed at ensuring a balance between the respective territories through the strengthening of cohesion and respect between the areas identified for the Games and the identification of solutions that give the greatest chances of success of the candidacy for the whole of Italy.”
CONI president Giovanni Malagò added, according to Italian news agency Ansa: “This is a great opportunity for our country, if we went ahead it means that there was no opposition from the IOC. Let's see what happens, but our candidacy is very strong.”
Cortina d’Ampezzo hosted the 1956 winter Olympics, while Turin staged the Games in 2006. Milan has never hosted an Olympics, but will stage the IOC Session at which the International Olympic Committee will assign the hosting rights in September 2019.
However, Milan’s position in the process remains unclear. Earlier on Wednesday, Mayor Giuseppe Sala said Milan would not be part of a formal joint bid, but would instead offer to stage certain events after failing to be chosen as the sole bidder.
In a letter to Malagò, Sala said: “Dear Giovanni, with regret I see that, in the decision for the bid for the 2026 Games, political reasons are prevailing over sporting and regional ones. Out of spirit of service to the country, Milan confirms its willingness, wherever requested, only to be a venue for competitions or events as, given the current conditions, it does not deem its participation in the governance of 2026 to be practical.”
He later tweeted: “The decision by CONI is not a project and therefore it cannot be judged. Clarity was not there yesterday and is not there, even today.”
However, the Mayor of Cortina, Giampietro Ghedina, has welcomed the announcement. He said: “It is a solution that basically agrees with us, because, as communicated to us by the CONI, the three cities would be considered equal, each making available their excellence.
“We of course would put forward the snow, for the parts more important, of the ski competitions. It is a choice that someone has called politics, but I think it can be a good proposal for Italy to put the three cities on a par, also for cost savings.”
Following last month’s announcement by the Austrian Olympic Committee that it was withdrawing the Graz/Schladming bid, CONI is currently facing competition for the 2026 Games from the Canadian Olympic Committee (Calgary), Japanese Olympic Committee (Sapporo), Swedish Olympic Committee (Stockholm) and Turkish Olympic Committee (Erzurum).