Milan-Cortina wins bid to host 2026 Winter Olympics

Milan Cortina 2026 beat the Swedish bid from Stockholm Åre by 13 votes

Milan Cortina 2026 beat the Swedish bid from Stockholm Åre by 13 votes

Milan and Cortina D'Ampezzo will host the 2026 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has announced in Switzerland.

The Italian cities beat out a Swedish bid from Stockholm-Are that also included a bobsled track in Latvia.

He highlighted how Milan Cortina 2026 had proposed the use of more existing venues than their Swedish rivals.

Still, the votes of around 85 International Olympic Committee members - many from countries with little snow and ice sports tradition - can be tough to read for Winter Games.

"I am really emotional because this is a very, very important result", said bid chief Giovanni Malago.

It will be the first time the winter games have multiple official host cities and it is the first time they will take place in Italy since 2006 when they were hosted in Torino.

"Congratulations to Milan-Cortina. We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country", said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The IOC's own polling of public enthusiasm showed "83% support in Italy" and "55% in favor in Sweden".

"Gathering a bit the atmosphere when leaving the room my assumption is that what made the difference was the gap in the public support", Bach said.

Sweden's spirited late campaign effort was in vain, including the mayor of Stockholm appealing to voters from the stage by singing a lyric from the Abba song "Dancing Queen".

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"It feels kind of weird historically", said Swedish IOC member and retired Olympic high jump champion Stefan Holm.

Instead, IOC members picked Italy despite a debt-hit economy that faces increasing European Union scrutiny.

The IOC has 95 members but not all will attend or can vote.

Sweden has never hosted a Winter Games before and the wait goes on after its Stockholm-Are bid - based around the capital and its largest ski resort, but also including Latvian city Sigulda - received 34 votes.

At that point, both Milan and Stockholm, Sweden, were still in the running for 2026, and theIOC had ruled out choosing the sites of two Winter Gamesat the same time, as happened with the Summer Games.

"Italy won and the dream turned into reality!" the Milan-Cortina Olympic committee tweeted after the announcement. "They've been focused on that", Bullock said.

The IOC will contribute at least $925m towards the cost of the Italian games, expected to be up to $1.7bn.

The vote to choose a victor from the Swedish and Italian rivals is expected to be closer than the 2015 vote when Beijing beat the Kazakh city Almaty to land the 2022 Winter Games.

The IOC praised both candidates for projecting sports budgets "on average 20% lower" than spending on the 2018 and 2022 games.

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