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ITALY LEADS RACE FOR 2026 OLYMPICS - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Wednesday May 29, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Milan-Cortina is the front runner with strong backing from the government and the public. PlanetSKI reports.




The latest opinion polls carried out by the International Olympic Committee suggest that the only other bid, from Stockholm-Åre in Sweden, is lagging behind in public support.

The results of the polls are published by the IOC's Evaluation Commission.

It visited both potential hosts for the 2026 Games earlier this year and has studied all the documentation provided by both Milan-Cortina and Stockholm-Åre.

It has just released its 144-page report which will be considered by IOC members before they decide who to give their vote to.

IOC Evaluation Commission report coverThe two bidders assessed















They are left with a choice between just two candidates after Innsbruck and Graz in Austria, Sion in Switzerland and Calgary in Canada all withdrew because of lack of public support.

The strong backing for Milan-Cortina - from all branches of government and more than 80% of the population - is a big turnaround for the bid that looked to be in trouble less than nine months ago.


The Evaluation Commission's report gives top marks to the Italian bid, saying Milan-Cortina meets all the criteria for a successful games.

The report is a detailed analysis of how the two candidates would organise the 2026 Olympics.

Every element is covered including venue and legacy plans, transport, accommodation, funding, sustainability, facilities for athletes, security and the Games vision.

But it is the issue of "public engagement and support" that currently divides the two potential hosts.

The opinion polls, which were conducted in March, show much stronger support for the Games in Italy than Sweden.

Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic bidStrong support for Milan-Cortina















"Milan-Cortina enjoys strong, united support from all levels of government, the private sector and civil society, as well as a consistently high percentage of public support," the report states.

"The latest IOC poll, conducted in March 2019, found 83% support in Italy, 87% in Milan, 81% in Lombardy and 80% in Veneto, demonstrating the public's enthusiasm for the project."

In Sweden, there is less support for the Games, but it is said to be increasing.

"The IOC's latest poll, conducted in March 2019, showed support is on the rise with 55% in favour in Sweden, 54% in Stockholm and 59% in the central region of Jämtland , where (alpine skiing resort) Åre is located," it says.

"The candidature team considers such figures to be high in the Swedish context."

2026 Winter Olympic candidateLower public support for the Swedish bid















In another sign that Milan-Cortina is the front-runner, the report says the Stockholm-Åre bid has not yet met all the necessary criteria.

"While the concept is solid, some operational aspects need further details," it says, adding "a number of areas, including the governance model and financial support and commitment, remain to be clarified."

The two candidates will each make a presentation to the International Olympic Committee at its meeting in Lausanne on 24th June which will decide who will host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

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