2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics may include Turin after all

2006 Olympics Speedskating
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MILAN — Speed skating for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics might be moved to the 2006 Turin Olympic oval or a temporary facility elsewhere after the IOC rejected plans to build an expensive roof over the outdoor track at Baselga di Piné.

Costs for the roof were initially slated at $54 million, according to a project announced in November. But there were concerns that actual costs could rise by at least 50%.

“The IOC said the investment was underestimated and not sustainable for the area and the IOC reserves the right to point the way in terms of executing the Games,” said Giovanni Malagò, president of both the 2026 organizing committee and the Italian Olympic Committee.

“I defended the original masterplan but there comes a time when you can no longer defend the undefendable,” Malagò added. “Everything that has happened since then, from COVID to the war (in Ukraine), has gone against us. Baselga is not a victim but rather one of the issues that arise systematically during the organization of an international event like the Olympics.”

While officials in the Trentino region are still hoping to rebuild the Baselga track, Malagò said Friday during a visit to the oval that he’s hoping Trentino and Lombardy can bid to host the Youth Winter Olympics for 2028.

Building a roof over the Baselga track was part of the plan when Milan-Cortina was awarded the Games in 2019 but not included in the official budget in an era of increasing sensitivity about the cost of staging the Olympics.

There have been calls from the start of Italy’s 2026 bid to hold speed skating at the existing indoor oval built for the 2006 Turin Games. The last Olympics to hold speed skating outdoors, where weather can affect ice conditions and therefore results, was the 1992 Albertville Games.

“It’s not automatic,” Malagò said about the possible move to Turin. “We will discuss all of the different possibilities.”

Outdoor ice is notoriously tough to keep in shape for all competitors to have a fair chance at a medal.

High temperatures made matters challenging in Albertville, where one recurring term was “slush,” with skaters ploughing through soft ice that sometimes had a thin sheet of water on top.

Over longer distances, when a competition session can take two hours, conditions at outdoor tracks can change to the extent that gold can depend as much on the starting time as on four years of preparation.

Ice-making facilities were removed from the Turin oval and it would cost an estimated $16 million to reinstall the system.

Besides Turin, other possibilities might include building a temporary track inside a convention center in the Lombardy or the Veneto regions that contain Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, respectively.

Italy’s initial bid declaration in March 2018 was for a joint Milan-Turin candidate. Cortina was added within a week to make it a three-pronged bid. By September 2018, Turin dropped out after political infighting, when a senior Italian official declared the bid “dead.”

But the bid pressed on as Milan-Cortina and beat a Swedish bid in the 2019 host election.

Turin is 85 miles southwest of Milan, which is 200 miles southwest of Cortina.

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Jordan Stolz breaks American record, wins speed skating World Cup

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Speed skater Jordan Stolz capped his breakout year by lowering his own American record on Saturday, then winning a World Cup race on Sunday in Calgary.

Stolz, who last February became the third-youngest U.S. Olympic male speed skater in history, has already this season become the youngest man to win a speed skating World Cup and lowered personal bests in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 5000m.

On Saturday, the 18-year-old broke his own American record in the 500m — from 34.11 seconds to 34.08 — and placed second in the World Cup race. South Korea’s Kim Jun-Ho beat him by one hundredth, preventing Stolz from becoming the first U.S. man to win a World Cup 500m since Tucker Fredricks in 2013.

On Sunday, Stolz won the 1000m in 1:06.72 — three tenths shy of Shani Davis‘ American record from 2009 — beating a field that included all three Olympic medalists. Stolz, who has been coached by Davis, placed 14th in the Olympic 1000m.

Stolz earned his first World Cup victory last month by taking a 1500m by a massive margin.

Stolz was inspired to speed skate by watching Apolo Ohno in short track at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Stolz’s dad then shoveled off space to skate on the pond behind the family house north of Milwaukee.

The next speed skating World Cup stop is in February in Poland.

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American Jordan Stolz becomes youngest man to win World Cup speed skating race

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American Jordan Stolz became the youngest man to win an individual World Cup speed skating race in history, according to Speedskatingstats.com, in a statement blowout victory to open the season.

Stolz, 18, won the 1500m in Stavanger, Norway, in 1 minute, 44.891 seconds, a track record. He distanced runner-up Connor Howe of Canada by 1.76 seconds and said minutes later that he was a little bit flabbergasted.

Stolz broke German Peter Adeberg‘s record from 1986 as the youngest man to win an individual World Cup race. The only younger woman to win was two-time Olympic 500m champion Lee Sang-Hwa of South Korea, according to Speedskatingstats.com.

“It was crazy,” Stolz told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “I didn’t know how anything was going to be. I had no expectations going into the race.”

Stolz’s victory margin was greater than what separated second-place Howe from the 16th-place skater, Dutchman Thomas Krol, who took Olympic 1000m gold and 1500m silver in February.

Last season, Stolz broke the junior world records in the 500m and 1000m and became the third-youngest U.S. Olympic male speed skater in history. He finished 13th in the 500m and 14th in the 1000m at the Olympics. He did not race the 1500m at Olympic Trials.

The Stavanger World Cup holds a men’s 500m on Saturday and a men’s 1000m on Sunday, among other races live on Peacock. Stolz said he will also race the 5000m later on Saturday if he’s placed in the early half of the 500m schedule for lower-ranked skaters.

Few skaters range from the 500m, the shortest sprint, through the 5000m, the second-longest men’s distance. Stolz was asked what distances he plans to race at March’s world championships and responded with a smile.

“All of them,” he said, though he then clarified he might not do the 10,000m.

That still conjures Eric Heiden, who famously swept all five gold medals at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics — the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m.

“I always think about him,” Stolz, a Wisconsin native like Heiden, told NOS on Friday. “What he did was pretty much near impossible, so I wouldn’t compare it at all.”

Stolz was inspired to speed skate by watching Apolo Ohno in short track at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Stolz’s dad then shoveled off space to skate on the pond behind the family house north of Milwaukee.

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