Milan-Cortina awarded the 2026 Winter Games
Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo are promising an Italian Olympics packed with style after winning the right to stage the 2026 Winter Games.
Milan earned 47 votes from the International Olympic Committee membership, compared to Stockholm's 34, prompting loud celebrations from the bid team, that had earlier included Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
"Italy, the future and sport have won," Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said back in Italy.
"Thanks to those who believed in it right away, especially in the Municipalities and Regions, and a pity for those who gave up.
"There will be at least five billion (euros) in added value, 20,000 jobs, as well as many new roads and sports facilities. With the Winter Olympics we will confirm our excellence and our skills to the world."
Milan and Stockholm were the only candidates left after four other cities - Swiss city Sion, Japan's Sapporo, Austria's Graz and 1988 hosts Calgary in Canada - had dropped out of the race with concerns over the size and cost of the event.
Italy last hosted the winter Olympics in 2006 in Turin while Cortina hosted the winter Games back in 1956.
"Congratulations to Milan-Cortina. We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country," IOC President Thomas Bach said after announcing the winner.
"The passion and knowledge of Italian fans, together with experienced venue operators, will create the perfect atmosphere for the best athletes in the world."
Sweden, a winter sports powerhouse who hosted the summer Olympics back in 1912, have now bid eight times unsuccessfully for the winter Games.
The Italian bid had gained an advantage over their opponents after a recent evaluation report by the IOC showed much stronger local support for the Olympics at over 80 percent among the population, compared to just over 50 percent for the Stockholm-Are candidacy.
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Milan-Cortina: The facts
|Population||1.3 million in Milan|
|Location||Italy's northern Lombardy region, Cortina - Dolomitic Alp|
|Altitude||Milan - 120 metres, Cortina - 1,224 metres|
|Past Olympic experience||Cortina hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956|
|Games concept||Most indoor competitions (except curling and speed skating) in Milan cluster and outdoor events in Cortina cluster (including Val di Fiemme)|
|Number of Olympic villages||Three (Milan, Cortina and Livigno)|
|Opening ceremony venue||San Siro in Milan (Capacity: 80,000)|
|Biggest advantages||Venues readily available except for one speed skating venue and an ice hockey rink which need to be rebuilt or renovated. Rich history of winter sports. 83% of public polled by IOC support the bid.|
|Biggest drawback||Bigger budget of $1.7 billion. Volatile economic and political situation in Italy with a new coalition at the helm|
With reporting from Reuters