Three years before the 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing, China, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on June 24, 2019 that the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will be hosted by Milan and Cortina, Italy.
This marks the third time the Winter Olympics will be held in Italy, coming 70 years after Cortina hosted the 1956 games and 20 years after the Winter games were hosted in Turin in 2006.
134th IOC Session - 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina, Italy
“Congratulations to Milan-Cortina," said IOC President Thomas Bach, according to the IOC's website. "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.”
According to the IOC, Milan-Cortina's emphasis on sustainability was key to their Winter Games bid, including the proposal that 13 out of the 14 (93-percent) of the necessary facilities are already existing or will be temporary. The bid also emphasized stimulating economic development in northern Italy, both through tourism and increasing the economic connections between the metro areas and the mountain regions.
“The new Candidature Process has demonstrated the success of Olympic Agenda 2020," continued Bach. "We have lowered the cost and complexity of developing Games projects, which now serve the long-term development goals of the host communities and have sustainability and legacy at their hearts. This has led to a significantly reduced organization budget and the use of 93-percent existing or temporary competition venues. I also want to thank Stockholm-Åre for presenting an excellent candidature and being part of the Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026.”
The city of Milan and mountain resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo are about 250 miles (400 kilometers) and nearly five hours apart from each other by car. The majority of the skiing events will be held at Cortina, while the majority of arena events, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will be held in Milan. Some events are tentatively scheduled to take place in Bormio, Livigno, Predazzo, and Tesero.
Athlete Reactions to 2026 Winter Olympic Announcement
Italian downhill skier Sofia Goggia, who beat Lindsey Vonn to win gold in the 2018 Winter Olympic Downhill in PyeongChang, South Korea, attended the 134th IOC session in person. "Write MILANO CORTINA 2026 under those circles!" Goggia wrote in Italian on Twitter, referencing the iconic Olympic rings. "WHAT A DREAM!" Goggia will be 34-years-old when the 2026 Olympics take place.
American Mikaela Shiffrin posted a video on Instagram that she's especially excited about the announcement. "Cortina is one of the best tracks that we race at, and I'm so excited to be racing there (hopefully!) in 2026 at the Olympics. Woohoo!" The American racer won the FIS Alpine World Cup Super-G at Cortina in January, and will be 30-years-old during the Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics.
Italian alpine racer Christof Innerhofer posted on Instagram "I hope to be there," referencing the announcement from the IOC, along with a photo of his second-place finish in the downhill at Sochi in 2014. He will be 42-years-old during the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Nicol Delago, an Italian speed skier currently ranked 8th in the world in Downhill, posted an especially festive photo celebrating the IOC's decision. Her caption, in Italian, simply said "Yesss🤩 MILANO CORTINA 2026🇮🇹" Coming off her best FIS Alpine World Cup season to date, including a second-place finish in the downhill at Val Gardena, the 23-year-old rising athlete will be 30 by the time the 2026 Winter Olympics take place.