Joint Italian bid chosen to host 2026 Winter Olympics, Paralympics

World Tuesday 25/June/2019 17:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Joint Italian bid chosen to host 2026 Winter Olympics, Paralympics

Geneva: A joint bid by Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo was elected to host the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Italian bid was chosen over one by Stockholm.

"This is a victory for all (the country)," Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala told state-run TV broadcaster RAI News24 shortly after the announcement.

"Our presentation of the candidacy was much varied, putting together pragmatism and Italian allure, and I believe this has played a role in the decision taken by the Committee," the mayor explained.

Sala also confirmed to RAI that the Milan-Cortina candidacy won 47 votes from the 82 members of the committee, while Stockholm received 34 votes and one member abstained.

Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi expressed "great satisfaction" at the news.

"A most relevant outcome for Italy resulting from an excellent team work, to which the Farnesina (Foreign Ministry) and its whole diplomatic network are proud of having contributed," Moavero Milanesi wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also welcomed the announcement. "We are proud of this great result," he wrote on his official Facebook page.

"Italy has won: the country has worked together and unanimously, with the ambition to create and offer the world an unforgettable sport event," the prime minister added.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also praised the IOC's decision.

"Long live to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2026, which will mean at least 20,000 new jobs, many investments, and some €5 billion of value added for Italy," Ansa quoted Salvini as saying.
In a statement announcing the assignment in late afternoon, IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated Italy for the achievement, saying that he expected the Winter Games Milan-Cortina 2026 to feature "iconic venues and beautiful settings, combining the attractions of a modern European metropolis with a classic Alpine environment."

The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) in early October announced that Italy would officially submit its bid to host the Winter Olympics 2026 with a joint bid involving the northern city of Milan and the mountain town of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Milan is Italy's major economic hub, while Cortina d'Ampezzo -- also known here as the "Queen" or the "Pearl" of the Dolomites mountains -- is considered one of the most attractive ski resorts across the whole arc of the Italian Alps.

In a text and video message to the IOC to support Milan-Cortina candidacy ahead of IOC's vote, President Sergio Mattarella promised Italy would be "ready to welcome" the Winter Games with its ancient tradition of hospitality if it won.

"In an Alpine theatre of extraordinary beauty... with great enthusiasm, we will make all athletes and audience feel at home, confirming sport as a tool of friendship, peace, and brotherhood," Mattarella said.