Milan, Turin and Cortina d’Ampezzo remain in the 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid after each city submitted required feasibility studies to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) by Tuesday’s deadline.
CONI confirmed that plans for all three bids were received by registered mail and will now be vetted by the National Council so that a final candidate to represent Italy can be named. The chosen city is expected to be selected and announced at a meeting on July 10.
Italian plans to bid for the Games were confirmed just days before the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) March deadline for letters of interest, and CONI had yet to conduct a domestic selection process. The IOC allowed the three Italian proposals to participate in the dialog phase of the process that is currently underway.
Milan is widely considered the favorite choice of CONI, and could include sharing some Alpine venues with Valtellina and the sliding events with St. Moritz in Switzerland.
Turin, having already hosted this century in 2006, has many facilities in place – but it may be considered too soon for a return visit.
Cortina d’Ampezzo bid was the last proposal to be named. Having already hosted the 1956 edition, the Cortina proposal includes renovated facilities across the region at a cost of 380 million Euros (USD $442 million).
Earlier thoughts to forward a joint bid among the three seem to have been abandoned.
Last month a bid from Sion in Switzerland was dropped due to a lost referendum. Both projects from Calgary in Canada and Graz in Austria are due to face risky public votes of their own and bids from Stockholm and Sapporo in Japan face other obstacles.
With Erzurum in Turkey the only other option, the IOC will be watching the Italian selection process carefully.
The named Italian city will still need to secure government support and may have to face its own referendum.
The IOC will choose a short list in October and name the winning host city in September 2019. The final vote is due to take place in Milan, but if an Italian city remains in the race, the planned IOC Session will have to be relocated.
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.