Italy declared a joint Milan-Torino bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics on Thursday.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) made the announcement two days before an International Olympic Committee deadline to enter a dialogue phase, after which no new cities will be accepted for 2026 bids.
The IOC said last month that four other cities entered the initial dialogue phase for potential 2026 Olympic bids: Calgary, Stockholm, Sion, Switzerland and Sapporo, Japan. Bids from Austria and Norway have also been discussed but not formally announced.
Bids could hinge on public votes, which led to the demise of recent Summer and Winter Games bids. Rome’s mayor ended the Italian capital’s bid for the 2024 Olympics in October 2016.
CONI said it will present a feasibility study on its bid once the new Italian government forms for “a comprehensive evaluation of the entire project.” Italy’s general election on March 4 resulted in no clear majority.
IOC president Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Winter Olympics can return to a more traditional location after PyeongChang 2018 and Beijing 2022, which USOC chairman Larry Probst called “code for Europe or North America.”
The U.S. prefers to bid for the 2030 Olympics — with one of Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe — but would consider bidding earlier if the 2026 and 2030 Olympics will be awarded together like the 2024 and 2028 Games were to Paris and Los Angeles last year. A double vote appears unlikely at this point.
The 2026 Olympic host city is set to be chosen via IOC members vote in September 2019 in Milan.
Though multiple locations can host Olympic events (like PyeongChang and Gangneung last month), one place is labeled the official Olympic host. CONI said it would let the IOC make that decision on Milan-Torino, cities separated by 90 miles.
Torino hosted the 2006 Winter Games, which also included Alpine skiing in Sestriere, snowboarding in Bardonecchia and sliding sports in Cesana.
Italy also hosted the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo and the 1960 Summer Games in Rome.
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