2026 Winter Olympics
Stockholm-Are 2026, Milan-Cortina 2026

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

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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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Kelly Slater has an Olympic decision to make

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Surfing icon Kelly Slater is in great position to qualify for his sport’s Olympic debut in 2020, but he’s undecided about making a required event appearance this summer to stay eligible.

The top two U.S. male surfers in this season’s World Surf League final standings are in line to qualify for the Olympics.

Slater, a 47-year-old, 11-time world champion, is ranked third among Americans through six of 11 events, but the No. 2, two-time world champion John John Florence, is likely out for the rest of the season after an ACL tear.

If Slater keeps up his current pace of results, he will pass Florence’s point total by the end of the season in December.

“It appears as though I have to make a decision [on the Olympics] sooner than that,” Slater said after being eliminated from South Africa’s J-Bay Open in ninth place on Wednesday. “I’ve really got to figure out all the factors around that and make a decision in the next few weeks.”

Slater’s concern is the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan, in September, an event that top Olympic hopefuls on the WSL tour are required to attend, barring illness or injury.

“I think I have to surf that event, and if I don’t, it may disqualify me,” he said (the International Surfing Association, the sport’s governing body, later confirmed it would disqualify him). “But I’m not sure if I want to go to Japan and compete right now.”

The ISA Games take place in the week between the next two WSL events, the latter hosted by Slater’s Surf Ranch wave pool in California.

“I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the Olympics right now, anyways,” said Slater, who last year said he was “50-50” on the Olympics when noting his differing thoughts on the qualification process and venue. “The point is, I’m not really focusing on it at this point. I’m trying to get myself back in the flow of the tour.”

Slater missed 13 tour stops between the 2017 and 2018 seasons after breaking a foot and having multiple surgeries.

He finished fifth, third, ninth, ninth and ninth in his five most recent events to get into Olympic qualifying position. He expected more after placing third in the two contests he entered healthy last season. Slater said he competed at J-Bay after straining his back “really bad” on Sunday, keeping him from surfing the three days before the contest.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, at 48, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, via the OlyMADMen.

“Right now in my head the focus is more on this tour than it is on the Olympics, but we’ll see,” he said. “I was starting this year with a lot of pressure on myself to try and make the Olympic team and think, maybe I’ll retire there next year and that will be the end for me. It put so much pressure on the start of the year for me that I didn’t feel like I could freely compete. It was putting too many things in my head. I needed to let that take a backseat and not worry about it. I’m just not really thinking about it a lot.”

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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China on brink of sweeping every gold medal at diving worlds

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Shi Tingmao joined Guo Jingjing as the only women to win three straight world titles in an individual diving event, giving China 11 gold medals in 11 events with two finals left in Gwangju, South Korea.

Shi, who swept the individual and synchronized springboard titles in Rio, claimed the 3m world title on Friday by 18.25 points with 391 total. Countrywoman Wang Han took silver, 5.8 points ahead of Australian Maddison Keeney.

Americans Sarah Bacon and Brooke Schultz missed the 12-woman final, placing 14th and 29th.

China, which has dominated the sport for two decades, is looking to sweep the golds at an Olympics or worlds for the second time after winning all 10 events in 2011. This year’s feat could be more impressive, should China win the last two events Saturday — a mixed-gender springboard and the men’s platform.

That’s because three mixed-gender events were added to the world program (but not the Olympic program) since 2011. And this year, China has not only won every gold but also taken every silver in the three individual Olympic program events thus far.

China is in strong position to go one-two in the men’s platform. Yang Jian and Yang Hao were nearly 70 points clear of the field in Friday’s semifinals.

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MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule