Wed, 17 Jul 2019

Italy Beats Out Sweden to Host 2026 Winter Olympics

Voice of America
25 Jun 2019, 06:35 GMT+10

The 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, the International Olympic Committee announced Monday.

The Italian delegation rejoiced as the winning host's name was read off a card.

The country had been competing with Stockholm-Are, Sweden, for the opportunity - and responsibility - of hosting the Games. Eighty-three IOC members were eligible to vote.

Some Italians celebrated on Twitter.

Others reacted negatively.

Costs have skyrocketed, with past hosts suffering huge cost overruns as they built and repaired their infrastructure to support millions of visitors and to meet IOC standards. Some arenas stand vacant after the Games end, running up expensive maintenance bills, while other hosts demolish extravagant temporary arenas to avoid the upkeep.

Italy's economy has struggled in recent years, fueling fears that it won't be well-positioned to serve as a host.

Still, 87% of Milanese residents supported the city's Olympics hosting bid, with a further 80% of Italians in support, according to a March 2019 opinion poll conducted by the IOC Evaluation. In contrast, just 54% of Stockholm residents and 55% of Swedish in general wanted their city to host.

Monday's decision was the first under the IOC's relaxed hosting standards, which aims to lighten the financial load and create a better legacy for hosts, especially by avoiding construction of new venues. On average, the Milan-Cortina and Stockholm-Are proposals would've used existing or temporary structures 80% of the time, in comparison to 60 percent for candidates in 2018 and 2022, according to an IOC report. Costs are projected to be 20% lower, with the Milan-Cortina Games expected to run Italy about $1.57 billion.

Cortina previously hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics, while Italian cities Rome and Turin were hosts in 1960 and 2006, respectively.

The 2026 Olympic Games are scheduled for Feb. 6-22, 2026, while the Paralympics will be held from March 6 to 15.

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