The Italian regions of Lombardy and Trentino have advanced discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in a bid to host the 2028 Winter Youth Olympic Games (Winter YOG).
IOC spokesperson Mark Adams confirmed Wednesday that the two regions already set to stage events at the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics have now entered into continuous dialogue with the Future Host Commission following a feasibility study launched by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) last year.
Italy’s tourism ministry and the Lombardy government first pitched the idea to CONI last August as a means of building off the legacy planned as a result of the 2026 Winter Games. Lombardy’s capital Milan will stage many of the ice events in 2026, with cross country skiing and ski jumping planned for Trentino. The Italian model mimics plans for the next Winter YOG in 2024 where South Korea’s Gangwon province will leverage existing venues developed for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.
IOC Future Host Commission Chair Octavian Morariu presented an update on the discussions to the IOC Executive Board during its quarterly meeting held behind closed doors Wednesday. Continuous dialogue is a phase of the bid where the IOC and the interested bidder discuss and examine the potential of hosting the Games without any commitment, timetable or specific edition of the Games in mind. Once firm mutual interest is found, a region can be chosen for targeted dialogue where concrete plans are developed and an election scheduled with the IOC Session.
Lombardy Trentino was the only project mentioned by Adams despite IOC claims in February that several nations are interested in hosting. Lake Placid officials have been mulling a possible bid following the Winter World University Games held in the U.S. city this year. Ukraine had long term plans to bid for the event before Russia invaded its borders in February 2022.
The first Winter YOG was held in Innsbruck in 2012 followed by Lillehammer in 2016 and Lausanne, Switzerland in 2020.
The next Summer edition of the Youth Olympic Games will be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2026 after it was pushed from 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.