2026 Winter Olympic host vote set between Sweden, Italy; watch it live

2026 Winter Olympics
Stockholm-Are 2026, Milan-Cortina 2026
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Whether it’s Sweden or Italy, the 2026 Winter Olympic host will be the first of its kind.

The IOC votes Monday between bids from Stockholm-Åre and Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo. The announcement, after a morning of presentations, is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET as part of Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA’s live, commercial-free broadcast and streaming coverage (8-10 a.m. ET, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.).

It will be the first Olympics with multiple cities in the official name and the first Winter Games in a traditional European setting since Italy hosted in 2006 with Turin.

The IOC is pleased with these two finalists, four years after Beijing narrowly defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

IOC President Thomas Bach indicated before this bid process began that he wants to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location. Then-USOC chairman Larry Probst said that was “code for Europe or North America.” The U.S., which has the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games, opted not to bid for 2026 but could go for 2030 with Salt Lake City.

With Sochi in 2014, PyeongChang in 2018 and Beijing in 2022, three straight Winter Games have been awarded to less traditional sites.

Sweden owns the most Winter Olympic gold medals of any nation yet to host a Winter Games. Italy hosted twice, in Cortina in 1956 before Turin in 2006.

CAPSULES: Stockholm-Åre | Milan-Cortina

But either winner, after five other candidates dropped out, could mark the beginning of an era.

With Bach’s Agenda 2020, passed in 2014, the IOC encouraged multiple cities (even multiple countries) to form single Olympic bids if it meant using more existing venues. That’s what we have for 2026 with two of the most spread-out plans in recent history.

Stockholm-Åre features venues across some 700 miles, from 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Åre to across the Baltic Sea in Sigulda, Latvia. It would be the first Winter Olympics to hold medal events in multiple countries.

That might have been a turn-off in the past, but contesting bobsled, luge and skeleton at an existing sliding track in Latvia is also in line with Agenda 2020. It saves millions of dollars (since Sweden does not have an existing track) and, as an IOC evaluation commission report stated in May, “would give Latvia an Olympic experience the country might not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy.”

Milan–Cortina, like the Swedish bid, has four venue zones, but within a smaller overall area and all in the same country. It was for a time a three-pronged bid with Turin, which dropped out in September. Thirteen of its 14 competition sites are already existing or will be temporary venues.

The IOC reported 83 percent public support in Italy and 55 percent in favor in Sweden in March. Prime ministers for both nations are part of the delegations in Lausanne for Monday’s vote. Crown Princess Victoria, the heir apparent to Sweden’s head of state, is also expected.

Rob Livingstone, producer of GamesBids.com, which tracks Olympic host races, said each bid has its own set of obstacles and benefits.

“They’ve never been to Sweden before,” he said. “The Italian one is a little bit more challenging, just the way the venues are spread out. There’s no central footprint, even though Milan has taken the lead.

“In Sweden, even though they’re kind of also portraying a regional bid, most of the sports, or a lot of them, are going to be in Stockholm.”

MORE: IOC proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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