2026 Olympic Games will return to Italy

June 24, 2019, 2:24 p.m. (ET)

 

The 2026 Olympic Winter Games has a home! The Italian bid for Milan-Cortina was selected by the IOC to host the 2026 Games that will run from Feb. 6-22 and March 6-15 for the Paralympic Games. This marks the first time a European city has hosted the Winter Games since Torino, Italy in 2006.

Milan-Cortina has a rich Olympic heritage. Cortina d’Ampezzo was selected to host the 1944 Olympic Winter Games before World War II caused a cancellation for both the summer and winter Games that year.

It wasn’t until 1956 that Cortina d’Ampezzo finally hosted its first Games where eight U.S. long track speedskaters competed. The team consisted of Charles Burke (Chicago, IL), William Carow (Madison, WI), Ken Henry (Chicago, IL), Arthur Longsjo (Fitchburg, MA), Donald McDermott (Ferndale, NY), Patrick McNamera, Eugene Sandvig and John Werket (Minneapolis, MN).

The 1956 Olympics had 32 nations competing and marked the debut for the USSR to compete at the Winter Games. Additionally, East German and West German athletes competed together as the United Team of Germany.

 

During the 2026 Games, the majority of events will happen in Milan, or in the resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo. The cities of Valtellina and Val di Fiemme will also be event sites, with venues shared across multiple sports. Short track speedskating events will be held in Milan, while long track events will be held in Val di Fiemme at the Baselga di Pine Speedskating Oval.

The outdoor oval has hosted multiple world speedskating events and plans for the rink include installing a roof over the oval. After the Games, the oval, which is the highest in Europe, will serve as a high-altitude training center for several national federations.

“We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “The passion and knowledge of Italian fans, together with experienced venue operators, will create the perfect atmosphere for the best athletes in the world. The Olympic Winter Games Milan-Cortina 2026 will feature iconic venues and beautiful settings, combining the attractions of a modern European metropolis with a classic Alpine environment.”