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2026 Winter Olympic Games: 'Italy's bid is national, not individual', states government

Italy's plans for a 'trident' 2026 Winter Olympic bid. (Photo: CONI)
by Maria Pia Beltran, AIPS Media

MILANO, September 12, 2018 - Italy’s Undersecretary for Sport Giancarlo Giorgetti has stated that a decision will be taken by next week on the country's candidature united for the 2026 Winter Games.

The news comes after Giorgetti met with representatives of the Government, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the three cities involved; Milan, Turin and Cortina d’Ampezzo, the ski resort in Italy’s Dolomite mountain region.

After the meeting, held at Palazzo Chigi in Rome, Giorgetti said: "The decision will be taken by September 18. The final financial backing needs to come from the Government and for this we will need to make a final evaluation. A few steps forward have been made, but there are still some points to overcome. However, we are confident at the moment. I can say that there are more certainties than doubts.

A national bid "For the first time, we want to experiment with applications from different territories, so we need to fit in different needs and sensitivities. The control room inevitably belongs to the Government, because it is Italian candidature not that of an individual city.”

Undersecretary for Sport Giancarlo Giorgetti with CONI President Giovanni Malagò and President Sergio Mattarella

Following Giorgetti's statement, it was the reactions of the three cities involved that have left many in Italy talking, given the fact that just months before both the mayors of Turin and Milan had rejected the idea of a joint bid. However, strong wording on a governmental level could have a hand in soothing possible municipal hurdles later on, like those that hampered Rome's latest bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

Equality? The Mayor of Torino, Chiara Appendino said: "We think that in case of a three-member candidacy the Government must manage the process, therefore giving us an equal say. It should be the Government that decides to finance, at its own expense, a possible Olympics, and not the [three] local authorities.

However, the Mayor of Turin had previously stated that a united bid was not Italy’s best chance of securing a host for the 2026 Winter Games.

"We made our position clear: an individual candidature would have been stronger than a three-way candidature, but out of institutional respect for the government we let their Executive Board make its own assessment. The model [Torino] is proposing is actually low cost and sustainable from an economic and environmental point of view and there are important effects on the territory. This has to be guaranteed by the government."

CONI’s president Giovanni Malagò had previously stated that a joint bid would be the most would be the most cost efficient and low-risk, brining it in line with the IOC’s new standards for host cities adopted in Agenda 2020, and relying on the fact that not a single venue would have to be built.

According to CONI documents, Milan would host the ice hockey, short track speed skating, figure skating and curling, while a nearby cluster that includes towns of Livigno, Valtellina and Bormio would be used for freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon and snowboard.

Turin would host a part of the ice, together with speed skating and Alpine skiing, while the Cortina cluster would be home to skiing, sliding events and ski jumping.

Communication Crucial to the many implications of the bid is that the three cities belong to three different administrative regions – Milan is in Lombardy, Torino in Piedmont and Cortina in Veneto.

Veneto’s governer Luca Zaia stated: "For us, the ‘trident’ candidacy continues to be valid, however we must say that the theme of communication on an joint level is important. All the three cities have to shine together, there shouldn’t be a single city overshadowing the others.

"We rely on the Government to a summary of the directions given. We believe that the dossier presented for us to host alpine skiing, ski jumping skeleton, bobsled and luge is still valid."

The bid representatives are set to hold a meeting with the IOC next week after the final decision is made.

“On September 19 we have to get to Lausanne with a strong bid that can compete with the others, because the goal is to bring home the necessary investment for 2026,” Zaia stressed.

Milan Initial talk of an Italian bid for 2026 highlight a bid centered around Milan, with the use of facilities in Torino (used for the 2006 Winter Olympics) and Cortina.

The Councilor for Sports of the City of Milan Roberta Guaineri said that there was a positive atmosphere around the idea of a national bid. “We are waiting to evaluate the Government's proposals,” she added.

Regarding Milan's push to be the leading city in the trident candidacy the commissioner made it clear that Milan is "confident, always and absolutely".

A shortlist of the candidates for the 2026 Games is set to be announced by the IOC at the the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games in October, with Calgary (Canada) , Stockholm (Sweden), Sapporo (Japan) and Erzurum (Turkey) other potential candidates.

The winner will be chosen at the IOC Session in September 2019 that, for the moment is scheduled to be held in Milan, with officials stating it could be moved if the Italian bid makes it to the final stages.

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