Reporting from Lima Convention Center in Peru – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Friday approved Milan, Italy as host city for the IOC Session in 2019. The election of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games host city will be on the agenda in Milan, as well as the confirmation of the sports program for those Games.
The Session would likely be held in September.
Plans outlined by Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago demonstrate a compact plan with La Scala Opera House hosting the Opening Ceremony, the Milan Congress Centre for the Session and the Principe di Savoia Hotel as accommodations for IOC members.
Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said “now Milan is a city under transformation, [people] can be surprised by what Milan has become.
“Tourism is under transformation, and the attitude of people in Milan is to see the international event as an opportunity, so they participate.”
Milan was elected to host the Session unopposed. In the past as many as two or three cities have lined up to take part.
The announcement came at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru where Paris and Los Angeles were chosen Wednesday to host the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
Milan officials took that inspiration and have been hinting that they may want to bid for the 2026 Winter Games, possibly leveraging some venues used at the nearby Torino 2006 Games.
Mayor Sala, however, wasn’t convinced. He said “we have to work on it. Now, technically speaking it is not possible.”
Under IOC rules, a bid city election cannot take place in the country of one of the bidders. If Milan was in the race, the Session would have to be moved or the election itself scheduled for a different Session.
Sala indicated that a “modification” would have to take place in order to bid.
“Why not,” he added, “but we have to work on it because it is clear that for the people in Milan that the Olympic Games are perfect.”
Rome, also in Italy, was in contention for the 2024 Games but dropped out after the newly elected Mayor withdrew her necessary support for the project.
Sion, Calgary, Innsbruck and Stockholm are other cities considering 2026 bids and have sent delegates to the Lima Session. Applications are due into the IOC next year.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.