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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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Stockholm–Åre 2026 Winter Olympic bid fast facts

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A look at the Stockholm–Åre 2026 Winter Olympic bid ahead of the IOC’s vote on Monday to choose the host city …

By the stats, Sweden is a very deserving Winter Olympic host candidate. It owns the most Winter Games gold medals (61, according to Olympic historians) of any nation yet to host a Winter Olympics and the second-most total medals of nations yet to host (165; Finland has 173.)

It held Summer Games competition twice, in 1912 as the outright host and in 1956 (equestrian events only). The latter marked the first time an Olympic sport was held wholly outside the host nation. Quarantine laws in Australia forced equestrian to be moved (to Stockholm, in this case).

This Swedish bid calls for a Winter Olympics to be shared between two nations for the first time. Sliding sports would be in Sigulda, Latvia, the nearest track for bobsled, skeleton and luge. The construction of sliding tracks is among the costliest venues for any Winter Games, leading the Swedish bid to look elsewhere.

Four years ago, it was reported that the PyeongChang Olympic sliding events could be held at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games venue rather than completing a new track in South Korea, but that ultimately did not happen.

MORE: How to watch 2026 Winter Olympic host vote

Stockholm was among four cities that dropped 2022 Olympic bids for various reasons (Sweden’s was a lack of political and financial support). The bid was revived for 2026, declared dead by Swedish politicians in April 2018, but kept alive by the Swedish Olympic Committee. In January, the bid was renamed to add the ski resort of Åre, which just hosted the world Alpine skiing championships.

Sweden hopes to reverse its Winter Olympic bidding luck. It lost six straight elections — 1984 (Göteborg), 1988 (Falun), 1992 (Falun), 1994 (Östersund), 1998 (Östersund) and 2002 (Östersund). Stockholm would join Beijing as the only cities to host Summer and Winter Games.

Its contingent in Lausanne for the bid presentation includes Olympic gold medalists Peter Forsberg (hockey) and Frida Hansdotter (Alpine skiing).

More on the Stockholm-Åre bid:

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

Venues
Stockholm
— hockey, curling, speed skating, figure skating, short track, cross-country skiing, biathlon, Alpine team event, big air skiing, aerials
*Big air and aerials are slated for Stockholm’s 1912 Olympic Stadium
Åre (380 miles northwest of Stockholm) — Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding
Sigulda, Latvia (350 miles southeast of Stockholm, across the Baltic Sea) — bobsled, luge, skeleton
Falun (130 miles northwest of Stockholm) — Nordic combined, ski jumping

Ceremonies
Opening Ceremony — Stockholm’s Friends Arena (retractable roof)
Closing Ceremony — multiple locations across the four venue clusters

Slogan
“Made in Sweden”

IOC Evaluation Group Report
“A modern global capital with a historic city center, Stockholm proposes venues in the heart of the city that would elevate and energize the Games experience. Sweden has the hosting experience, love for winter sports and established World Cup venues necessary for delivering the Games. In line with Olympic Agenda 2020/New Norm, Stockholm has developed a Games concept that addresses the city’s future needs and aims to improve the lives of all its citizens.”

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

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

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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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