Italy Presents Two-City 2026 Olympic Winter Bid With Milan and Cortina To IOC, But Turin May Still Participate

Officials from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) were in Lausanne, Switzerland Wednesday to present a revised two-city 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  The quickly modified concept includes venues in Milan and 1956 Winter Games host Cortina d’Ampezzo, and comes one day after a government official declared the previous three-city plan, involving Turin, “dead.”

Cortina d'Ampezzo Ice Olympic Stadium built for the 1956 Olympic Winter Games and later restored with an added roof.

Cortina d’Ampezzo Ice Olympic Stadium built for the 1956 Olympic Winter Games and later restored with an added roof.

On Tuesday Giancarlo Giorgetti, the government official in charge of working with CONI said that it could not fund the conflicted bid that has Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala demanding his city have a lead role in the project and Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino refusing to have her city step into a supporting role.

That immediately prompted CONI and leaders in Milan and Cortina to instead endorse the two-city concept in order to salvage the project, leaving Turin out.

CONI President Giovanni Malagò admitted that the chances of success will be less without Turin, and they would still have to campaign for support from the government before moving forward.  He also didn’t rule out, and was hopeful that Turin would re-engage with the bid that can still be modified before the IOC elects a winner September 2019.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said that he was confident the government would back the new plans.

“We will work to get everyone to agree, and do everything possible to have [the Olympics] hosted in Italy,” Salvini said.

But later Giorgetti said, regarding the possibility of government funding “on the initiative of the government, certainly not.”

He added that the Lombardy and Veneto regions (representing Milan and Cortina) would be responsible to find private funding if necessary.

That leaves the bid in a precarious but familiar state that Italy is familiar with.  Capital Rome’s bids for the 2020 and 2024 Summer Games were both called off after losing political support – first when the Prime Minister denied funding and the latter when the newly-elected Mayor rejected plans.

Sala was optimistic about the two-city plan telling Repubblica “The Olympic brand will be Milan-Cortina 2026.”

“Yesterday the mayor of Cortina said he agrees.

“My battle is not arrogance, but right now having the name and image of Milan out front is good for everyone.”

To exclude Turin’s venues from the original plan CONI moved ice hockey and speedskating to Milan and shifted Alpine skiing to Cortina.

Italy’s 2026 Olympic Bid Declared “Dead” As Government Refuses To Support Conflicted Three-City Project, But Milan-Cortina To Be Presented To IOC

The IOC will likely work hard with CONI to keep an Italian bid in the race, due to the dwindling numbers of bidders.

On Monday Sapporo, Japan dropped its bid so the city can instead focus on recovery efforts following an August 6 earthquake in the region that claimed 41 lives.  Calgary faces a daunting referendum on November 13 and Stockholm is struggling to secure elusive government support for its plans.

Erzurum in Turkey, an outsider that could face economic and security risks, rounds out the list of interested cities.  Earlier this year Sion in Switzerland lost a referendum, ending its chances, and Graz in Austria dropped out due to political indifference.

In October, the IOC will release a short list of qualified candidates that could appear on the final election ballot.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil