Things have taken a positive turn in a big way for Italian resort Cortina d’Ampezzo just a few years after it failed in its bid to host the 2019 Alpine Skiing World Championships to Are in Sweden, staged last season.
Cortina went on to win the bidding to host the 2021 Championships in February 2021 and will also host the World Cup Finals at the culmination of the coming 2019-20 season and now it has won the ultimate winter sports event hosting crown, the Winter Olympics, which it will host in 2026.
The decision was made this evening by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting at their headquarters in Lausanne. It was a reverse of that decision to award the 2019 World Championships to Are, as this time Cortina was chosen over Are, which was part of a joint bid with Swedish capital Stockholm, by 47 votes to 34 by IOC delegates.
The IOC were not planning to make their decision on the host until September at their annual congress, but that is scheduled to take place in Milan so the vote was moved to a neutral location and a new date.
Cortina d’Ampezzo will become one of just a handful of locations to host the Winter Olympics at least twice, some 70 years after it first did so in 1956. It also becomes the first resort to host a Games in the second century of the winter Olympics, 2024 is the centenary of the first Games in Chamonix.
The Milan Cortina Olympics will also see the games return to Europe for the first time in 20 years, since the last European Olympics, also in Italy, in 2006 in Turin.
The next Olympics and Beijing and previous two in Pyongchang, south Korea and Sochi, Russia all took place in Asia, geographically speaking, although Sochi is treated politically as being in Europe, despite being located south of the Caucasus and thus in geographic Asia. The 2010 Olympics were in Vancouver, Canada, North America.
Of the 20 or so cities, resorts and regions that initially showed an interest in staging the 2026 Games there were seven left last year. Of these Sapporo in Japan, Graz in Austria, Calgary in Canada and Sion in Switzerland all decided to withdraw their candidacies whilst Erzurum in Turkey was not invited to continue with its candidacy by the IOC.
The 25th Winter Olympics will take place in February 2026 in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo and the other Italian ski resorts with the 2026 Winter Paralympics following in March.