Reporting from Cavalese, Italy – Italy’s bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has planned to erect a temporary Olympic Village in Cortina d’Ampezzo, and augment a new permanent facility in Livigno with additional temporary units.
The strategy is new, and will provide a sustainable and unexpected legacy from the Games.
Temporary relocatable units made of prebuilt modules that are assembled to create apartment buildings on a concrete base will be installed at an abandoned airport just five minutes from the Cortina city centre. It will be right across the street from the Main Press Centre, also comprised of temporary structures.
The airport was opened for the 1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina but closed in 1976 after a fatal accident.
According to the bid dossier, “the apartments use high technology energy sources and are equipped with solar panels, making them a highly-sustainable accommodation option. Based on the existing modules, each housing block can house twin and single rooms, all with en suite facilities.”
1,140 beds will be available in Cortina while a total of 1,018 beds are planned for Livigno, some temporary.
The units are demountable and reusable so the Italian National Civil Defence Department can take possession post Games and make them available for emergency housing in case of natural disasters.
Along with that legacy, the Games will not leave housing behind in an area that doesn’t require it.
Milan’s Olympic Village will be a new 1,330 bed facility with accommodations to be converted to university student residences post Games.
Armin Zöggeler, a six time Olympic medalist and two-time Olympic champion in luge said from the planned Cortina Village site Tuesday “It is better to have this temporary structure, even for the athletes because it’s more easy to build it and if they do it in concrete it takes more time and usually they don’t get finished in time.”
“Then the message is very important because you can use this temporary structure for something else and don’t waste the money and the space here when you don’t need it any more.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission visiting Cortina and other sites in Italy this week as part of an inspection tour were shown the airport facility and plans to erect the temporary structures.
The IOC will further analyze the proposal but don’t seem put off by the accommodations that are typically provided for emergency use or housing for those who have been displaced or are homeless.
“I think at this moment we have no particular reason to be worried about that,” Evaluation Commission Chair Octavian Morariu said.
“So I think they will take this on board and we have no particular comment at present.”
A technical expert on the scene said the area is adequately supplied with water and electricity to handle the additional capacity, and an analysis will be made to discover if the 3 km connection to supply gas to the facility will be a useful legacy for residences and businesses in the area.
The IOC commission will continue its site inspection Wednesday until Saturday when a press conference will bring the five-day visit to a close.
GamesBids.com will be reporting from Italy this week until April 7, bringing you on-site coverage of the important Evaluation Commission visit. Follow us on Twitter @GamesBids or on Facebook to keep up with this event.