IOC rejects proposal to keep Milan-Cortina 2026 sliding venue in Italy, forcing bobsleigh, luge and skeleton outside the country

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Friday rejected a proposal that would have kept bobsleigh, luge and skeleton in Italy for the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games.

Milano Cortina 2026

Last month Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malagò told the IOC that the planned reconstruction of the Eugenio Monti sliding track in Cortina d’Ampezzo that was built for the 1956 Winter Olympics would no longer be feasible due to rising cost estimates and lack of project bidders.

Italian officials have tried to keep the events in Italy instead of using existing facilities across the border in Europe, but a proposal to renovate the closed track in Cesana that was used for the Turin 2006 Winter Games has been pushed away by the IOC.

According to the Associated Press the IOC said that it would not consider a plan to refurbish a venue with no legacy plan, citing that the track was already closed only six years after the Turin Games.

“The IOC has been very clear over the last years that no permanent venue should be built if there is not a clear and viable legacy plan,” it told AP in a statement.

“Only existing and already operating tracks must be considered.

“The IOC has also already clarified that it believes that the current number of sliding centers [in the world] is sufficient for the current number of athletes and competitions.”

The Igls Sliding Centre near Innsbruck, Austria or facilities in St. Moritz, Switzerland just hours away are now the most likely destinations for the events.

Innsbruck was in the running to fully host the same 2026 edition before more than 53 percent of voters across the region rejected plans in a referendum. Four cities dropped out of the race before Italy defeated Sweden’s Stockholm-Åre bid by a vote of 47-34.

Innsbruck hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1964 and 1976, and staged the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012.

According to Austrian media the track is already set to undergo renovations next year and would be up-to-date to support the Olympics.

Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) President Karl Stoss last month said he was “very happy to hold direct discussions” about a plan.

The next nearest possible venue is in St. Moritz, more than 300 kilometers away. The Swiss region is currently vying to host the 2030 Winter Games.

Sweden, currently in the running to host the 2030 Winter Games among France and Switzerland, has proposed staging sliding in Sigulda, Latvia because it does not have a track of its own.

An Olympics in Sweden could have been the first time a Winter Games was staged in two separate countries, but it now appears Italy will take that designation.

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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