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Italy Wins Bid To Host 2026 Winter Olympic Games

By Danielle Dorsey

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today in Lausanne, Switzerland, that Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo will host the 2026 Winter Olympics. Members of the Italian delegation rejoiced with chants of, “Italia! Italia!” upon hearing the news.

The decision came down to Stockholm-Åre in northern Sweden and northern Italy, reflecting a move to divide hosting duties among regions and countries which are better equipped to handle the infrastructure of the Games than a single city. The last time Italy hosted the Winter Games was in Turin in 2006. 

Italy’s economic issues raised questions as to whether or not the country has the resources to pull off the event. Italy holds the second highest debt in Europe after Greece and their government was recently scolded by the European Union for their populist spending plans. In 2016, the country removed their bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics after Rome’s mayor said that doing so would be irresponsible and only send the city further into debt.  Recent polls show that 80 percent of Italians are in favor of hosting the 2026 Games.

Italian officials made the case that the 2026 Winter Games will take place in a relatively prosperous region with plenty of transportation options to accommodate visitors. In their bid for the Games, Italy suggested using an existing soccer stadium and a first-century Roman amphitheatre for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. 

After the announcement, Italy’s nationalist deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, tweeted a photo of himself with the Italian flag and a fist raised in triumph, claiming that the Winter Olympics would add a value of five billion euros and produce 20,000 jobs.

Tokyo will host the next Summer Olympic Games in 2020. The 2022 Winter Games will take place in Beijing. Paris is slated to host the 2024 Summer Games, with Los Angeles scheduled to follow in 2028.

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