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Sea rescue: Olympic swimmer saves tourist in Italy

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MILAN (AP) — A swimmer struggling in the sea off Sardinia soon discovered it was his lucky day.

Italian news agency ANSA says the male tourist got in trouble Sunday afternoon after his inflatable swan was carried away by the wind. According to a witness, the swimmer’s friends alerted a life guard — but someone else was closer by.

Retired world champion swimmer Filippo Magnini, a 2004 Olympic 4x200m freestyle bronze medalist, had no problem in reaching the man in a few quick strokes.

Magnini told La Gazzetta dello Sport that “the swimmer was in trouble. At a certain point, he got scared, couldn’t move and swallowed a bit of water. When I reached him, he couldn’t even speak.”

Magnini kept the man afloat until the lifeguard arrived.

“I did what I felt I should do,” Magnini said. “Swim as fast as I could to save him. The important thing is the swimmer is safe.”

The 37-year-old Magnini was swimming nearby with his girlfriend, Italian model and TV personality Giorgia Palmas.

Magnini, who won the 100m free at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships, received a four-year ban for doping in 2018 after he had retired. He never tested positive and denied any wrongdoing.

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2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, with Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm.

Milan-Cortina won with 47 votes to Stockholm–Åre’s 34 to become the first Olympics with multiple official host cities.

Italy boasted its public support (83 percent in a March IOC poll versus 55 percent in Sweden) and financial guarantees (Stockholm officials declined to sign the IOC’s host-city contract, leaving it to the smaller ski resort of Åre).

“I cannot look into the heads of my colleagues, but gathering a little bit the atmosphere when leaving the room, my assumption is that what was key and what finally made the difference was the gap in the public support,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, who was not among the voters. “This was, for many members, a clear signal. Public support offers goes hand in hand with political support. This was maybe also the reason then why the city of Stockholm was not ready to sign the host-city contract.”

The Games return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006 after Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022).

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Italy will host the Winter Games for a third time after Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956 and Torino in 2006.

Its bid presentation Monday included all three Italian 2018 Olympic champions speaking — Arianna Fontana (short track), Michela Moioli (snowboard cross) and Sofia Goggia (downhill). The presentation ended with 15-year-old short track speed skater Elisa Confortola addressing more than 80 IOC members.

Italy’s initial bid declaration in March 2018 was for a joint Milan-Torino candidate. Cortina was added within a week to make it a three-pronged bid. By September, Torino dropped out after political infighting, when a senior Italian official declared the bid “dead.” But the bid pressed on as Milan-Cortina, sites separated by more than 200 miles.

Sweden has finished second or third in all seven of its Winter Olympic bid votes, including six straight from 1984 through 2002, according to the OlyMADMen. Stockholm–Åre was trying to become the first Winter Games held in multiple countries, with Latvia holding bobsled, luge and skeleton. Sweden remains the nation with the most Winter Olympic gold medals yet to host a Winter Games.

“Our hope and expectation has been that the IOC would be ready to move from words to action and have confidence in Sweden’s ability to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games based on our proposal and vision,” Stockholm–Åre said in a press release. “We neither want, nor can present, a concept that involves major government grants and guarantees – or change the legislation – for a sports competition.”

The IOC praised how both bids fit with Agenda 2020 with 80 percent of the venues already existing or temporary and organizational budgets 20 percent lower than 2018 and 2022 cities.

More on the Milan-Cortina bid:

Proposed Dates: Feb. 6-22 (Olympics), March 6-15 (Paralympics)

Venues
Milan
 — Figure skating, hockey, short track
Cortina d’Ampezzo (220 miles northeast of Milan) — Alpine skiing (women), bobsled, luge, skeleton, curling, biathlon (Antholz)
Val di Fiemme (160 miles northeast of Milan) — Cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, speed skating (outdoors with roof plan)
Valtellina (85 miles northeast of Milan) — Alpine skiing (men, Bormio), freestyle skiing, snowboarding

Ceremonies
Opening Ceremony — San Siro (home of AC Milan and Inter Milan)
Closing Ceremony — Verona Arena (Roman amphitheatre 90 miles east of Milan)

Slogan
“Dreaming Together”

IOC Evaluation Group Report
“Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo combine the advantages of a big European city and those of a popular mountain resort region in the Italian Alps. The candidature benefits from the region’s strong winter sports history, tradition and experience, as well as the Italians’ love and passion for sport. The project can also leverage the economic strength and prosperity of the northern Italian region. While planning is still at an early stage, the project has the potential to achieve the long-term goals of the cities and the region in line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm.”

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master schedule

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Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic bid fast facts

Milan-Cortina 2026
Milan-Cortina 2026
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A look at the Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo 2026 Winter Olympic bid ahead of the IOC’s vote on Monday to choose the host city …

Like its Swedish counterpart, Italy’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics has been in flux.

The initial declaration in March 2018 was for Milan and the 2006 Winter Games host of Turin. Cortina, which hosted Italy’s other Winter Olympics in 1956, was added within a week to make it a three-pronged candidate. By September, Turin dropped out after political infighting. The bid has since remained Milan-Cortina, sites separated by more than 200 miles.

Italy would make this history if elected Monday: No country has ever won two Winter (or Summer) Olympic bid elections against at least one other nation in a 20-year span and held the Winter (or Summer) Games twice in that stretch.*

MORE: How to watch 2026 Winter Olympic host vote

Rome bids for the 2020 and 2024 Summer Games were dropped for financial and political reasons.

Its bid presentation team for Monday’s vote includes Olympic champions Alberto Tomba (Alpine skiing) and Armin Zöggeler (luge).

More on the Milan-Cortina bid:

Proposed Dates: Feb. 6-22 (Olympics), March 6-15 (Paralympics)

Venues
Milan
— Figure skating, hockey, short track
Cortina d’Ampezzo (220 miles northeast of Milan) — Alpine skiing (women), bobsled, luge, skeleton, curling, biathlon (Antholz)
Val di Fiemme (160 miles northeast of Milan) — Cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, speed skating (outdoors with roof plan)
Valtellina (85 miles northeast of Milan) — Alpine skiing (men, Bormio), freestyle skiing, snowboarding

Ceremonies
Opening Ceremony — San Siro (home of AC Milan and Inter Milan)
Closing Ceremony — Verona Arena (Roman amphitheatre 90 miles east of Milan)

Slogan
“Dreaming Together”

IOC Evaluation Group Report
“Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo combine the advantages of a big European city and those of a popular mountain resort region in the Italian Alps. The candidature benefits from the region’s strong winter sports history, tradition and experience, as well as the Italians’ love and passion for sport. The project can also leverage the economic strength and prosperity of the northern Italian region. While planning is still at an early stage, the project has the potential to achieve the long-term goals of the cities and the region in line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm.”

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

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*The U.S. won bid city votes for 1960, 1976 and 1980, but Denver withdrew from hosting the 1976 Olympics and Lake Placid ended up the lone candidate in 1980. Innsbruck hosted the 1964 Winter Olympics and again in 1976, but it was chosen to host the latter after Denver withdrew. St. Moritz hosted the 1928 and 1948 Winter Games, but no other nations were formal candidates in those years. The U.S. hosted the 1984 and 1996 Summer Games, but it was the lone candidate for the former.