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Italy on ice: Milan and Cortina selected to host 2026 Winter Olympics

Italy on ice: Milan and Cortina selected to host 2026 Winter Olympics
The Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo have been selected as the next hosts of the 2026 Winter Olympics after the IOC made its formal announcement on Monday.

The Italian bid earned 47 votes from the International Olympic Committee's members to win the right to host the Games, beating rivals Stockholm, who garnered 34 votes.

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini hailed the winning bid, saying: "Italy, the future and sport have won.

"Thanks to those who believed in it right away, especially in the Municipalities and Regions, and a pity for those who gave up."

"There will be at least five billion (euros) in added value, 20,000 jobs, as well as many new roads and sports facilities. With the Winter Olympics we will confirm our excellence and our skills to the world."

Milan and Stockholm battled through the bidding process as four other bids, from Sion (Switzerland), Sapporo (Japan), Graz (Austria) and Calgary (Canada) all dropped out of the running due to concerns over the cost of hosting the event.

The 2026 Games will see the Winter Olympics return to Italy for the first time since 2006, when Turin staged the Games. The Games will also see Cortina host the game for a second time, after previously staging the games back in 1956.

IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated the Italian bid, saying: "Congratulations to Milan-Cortina. We can look forward to outstanding and sustainable Olympic Winter Games in a traditional winter sports country.

"The passion and knowledge of Italian fans, together with experienced venue operators, will create the perfect atmosphere for the best athletes in the world."

Milan-Cortina's victory leaves Swedish fans disappointed once again, with their failed 2026 bid the eighth time the winter sports-crazy nation has tried, and failed, to bring the Winter Olympics to their country.