Ski Mountaineering approved for Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics program

The inclusion of Ski Mountaineering on the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic program was unanimously approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership Tuesday during the organization’s Session being held in Tokyo.

International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Cup 2021 (Photo: Maurizio Torri/ISMF)
International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Cup 2021 (Photo: Maurizio Torri/ISMF)

The positive vote follows a glowing recommendation by the IOC Executive Board last month that cited the sport’s strong debut at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Games and its growing popularity in host nation Italy as well as internationally. The IOC’s Programme Commission chair Karl Stoss presented plans for the sport during an update to the Session.

Ski mountaineering is a skiing discipline that involves timed races climbing mountains on skis, or carrying them while ascending and descending the rugged terrain.  The World Championships were first held for the sport in 2002 and the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) was formed in 2008.

With the new sport, five new medal events will be added to the Games’ program and be contested by 48 athletes – split equally among men and women – in sprint and individual events as well as a mixed-gender relay.  There is no stand-alone venue requirement to stage the events and the additional athletes will not effect the overall Games quota of 2,900 due to adjustments that will be made to other sports to balance the numbers.

ISMF President responded to the news saying “We are Olympic!”

“We are writing an important page in the history of winter sports.

“After many years of commitment, efforts and passionate work we have finally reached the top step and realized the famous Olympic Dream.  It has been a long and intense path, but now the satisfaction is unthinkable and the skimo community must be proud of this achievement.

“I am sure that all my colleagues and the entire world of ski mountaineering are feeling an indescribable emotion in this moment and I can assure that the ISMF will do its utmost to present a magnificent sport at the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.”

Milan Cortina 2026 will become the third Olympic Games to include at least one additional event under Agenda 2020.  At Tokyo 2020 the new rules allowed for the return of regionally popular baseball and softball to the program along with karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

Paris 2024 will see the addition of of breaking, a sport that was popular at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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