Italy is a sport-loving nation, and winter sports are part of the tradition, culture and identity of Northern Italy. The region has world-class winter sports venues, ranging from the ice arenas of Milan to the well-established and iconic World Cup and World Championship destinations of Cortina, Bormio, Antholz and Val di Fiemme.
#DreamingTogether It’s all true, the dream has become reality. On June 24, 2019, joy and emotion accompanied the most beautiful moment: Milan-Cortina won, Italy will host the Winter Olympic Games of 2026. This is the second time, Winter Olympic Games will be held in Cortina (1956) and the third time for Italy (Turin 2006).
The plan is fully in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, which call for making maximum use of existing and temporary venues if there is no post-Games demand for new permanent facilities. With regard to competition venues, Milan-Cortina 2026 prioritizes sustainability and legacy, as 13 out of a total 14 facilities (93 per cent) will be existing or temporary.
The Olympics represent a great opportunity for sporting, social, and economic growth, the possibility of increasing tourism as well as improving our infrastructural system to grow better in a sustainable way. The Games will be a catalyst to boost economic development across Northern Italy, including supporting the regions to achieve their specific tourism goals, and to stimulate economic activities between the metropolitan and mountain areas.
One might think it’s still seven years away; however, thinking and planning on how to improve services and accessibility are already underway. The Valtellina area that will host races in Bormio (men’s alpine ski) and Livigno (snowboard and freestyle), plans to be reached more easily and faster. Today, the 200 km that separate Milan from Bormio is covered in about 3 hours by car, while the train reaches only Tirano (2 hours and 40 minutes) and the last 25 miles (40 km) require another car ride, either by shuttle, taxi or bus. That’s an exhausting trip, especially if you arrive from overseas. Plus, Livigno is even further away from Milan, and needs at least another half an hour to get there.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Congratulations to Milan-Cortina. We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country. 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.”
If you don’t want to wait until 2026, take a trip to Cortina in 2021 to watch the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Then come back in 2026. Start planning now and get your ski gear up to date.
Photos courtesy of Cortina Dolomiti