Milan-Cortina has won the right to host the 2026 Winter Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach announced the decision Monday.
IOC officials voted between the Italian bid and one from the Swedish city of Stockholm-Are.
The announcement marks the Winter Olympics’ return to Europe, with the event having been hosted by Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018 and the Chinese city of Beijing staging the Games in 2022.
Italy has twice hosted Winter Olympics in the past — Cortina in 1956 and Turin in 2006 — but it will be the first held in Milan.
The bidding process has been criticized for the small number of cities on the ballot paper. It’s the second time that only two bids have contested the final vote since Russia spent approximately $51 billion on venues and infrastructure for Sochi 2014.
According to the IOC, there were 47 votes in favor of the Italian bid versus 34 votes for the Swedish bid.
“We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country,” said Bach, after revealing the decision.
“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.”
The 2026 Games are scheduled to take place from February 6-22, while the Winter Paralympics will be from March 6-15.
Former US skier Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic champion in 2010 and two-time bronze medalist, had announced her support for the Milan-Cortina bid before the vote took place.
“I’m really hoping that Cortina gets the 2026 Olympics,” Vonn said in an Instagram video on the official page of the Italian bid. “I’ve had so many great memories on that track.
“It’s an amazing place, incredibly beautiful and everyone is incredible passionate about winter sports. So please vote for Cortina and hopefully I’ll be there on the sidelines.”