Milan–Cortina d'Ampezzo awarded Olympic Winter Games 2026

The Italian candidature beat Stockholm–Åre, Sweden, in the vote at the 134th IOC Session.

By ZK Goh ·

It's official: Milan–Cortina d'Ampezzo has been awarded the 2026 Winter Olympics.

There were jubilant scenes from the Italian delegation at the 134th IOC Session and Host City Election in Lausanne, Switzerland, when International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach unveiled the election result live on Olympic Channel.

The envelope containing the name of the winner was handed to President Bach by 10-year-old Livia de Bon, a figure skater from Lausanne, accompanied by IOC Member in Aruba Nicole Hoevertsz.

The candidature from Italy was selected ahead of the Swedish one of Stockholm and Åre by 47 votes to 34.

A total of 83 IOC Members were eligible to vote, with one abstention alongside President Bach, who traditionally does not vote except to break a tie. IOC Members in Italy Franco Carraro, Ivo Ferriani, and Giovanni Malagò, and IOC Members in Sweden Gunilla Lindberg and Stefan Holm, were not allowed to vote.

The 2026 candidature process was the first to be based on the "New Norm", a framework developed by the IOC to deliver cost savings and long-term legacy benefits to host cities.

It will be Cortina's second Games, having also hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics. Italy also staged Rome 1960 and Torino 2006.

Proposed dates for the Olympic Games are 6–22 February 2026, with the Paralympic Games from 6–15 March 2026.

President Bach praises 'passion and knowledge' of Italian fans

IOC President Thomas Bach offered his congratulations to the winning Host City, saying: "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 2026 will feature iconic venues and beautiful settings, combining the attractions of a modern European metropolis with a classic Alpine environment."

President Bach also sent commiserations to the Swedish candidature team, saying: "I also want to thank Stockholm–Åre for presenting an excellent candidature and being part of the Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026.”

WATCH: Moment the 2026 Winter Olympics were awarded to Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo

The Italian candidature beat Sweden's Stockholm-Are in the host city electi...

Writing on Twitter, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: "We are proud of this great result. Italy has won: an entire country that has worked together with the ambition to create and offer the world a "memorable" sporting event."

Italian NOC president Giovanni Malagò was visibly emotional at the IOC–Host City Press Conference.

"I am really proud of this fantastic team. I cannot remember in my life the faith people have put in this bid."

Milan–Cortina will also host the Winter Paralympics in 2026. International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons said: "These Games promise much for future generations of Italians; they increase sport participation, encourage sustainability and drive social inclusion.

"I am confident these will be great Games and Games that will engage whole new audiences in Para winter sports."

There was stunned silence before respectful applause from Stockholm–Åre supporters when the decision was announced.

Speaking to Olympic Channel, Olympic curling champions Sara McManus and Agnes Knochenhauer congratulated the winning team from Italy.

"Of course we are disappointed, and it's very sad," McManus said. "It's nerve-wracking to just sit there and watch. Big congrats to Milano and Cortina."

Added Knochenhauer: "We were hoping, but it didn't work out. It's a big disappointment.

"Congratulations to Milano and Cortina, now we will hope we will win tonight at the FIFA Women's World Cup."

Speaking at the IOC–Host City Press Conference, President Bach noted the lower levels of public support Stockholm–Åre had.

"My assumption is what was key was the gap in public support. To many members this was a clear signal."

Italian supporters cheer after Milan Cortina win the Host City Election 2026. (Greg Martin/IOC)

Milan–Cortina emphasised co-operation at all levels

Led by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the Italian delegation entered the Session holding the Italian tricolore and to chants of "Italia! Italia!" from supporters in the crowd.

Italian National Olympic Committee president and IOC Member Giovanni Malagò opened Milan–Cortina's presentation alongside the president of the Italian Paralympic Committee, Luca Pancalli. Malagò declared: "We are two sides of the same medal, the medal for sport. We have co-operated on the Olympics and Paralympics for the same goal."

"We have submitted to the IOC all required guarantees," he added. "Financial, security, anti-doping, services, visas, and above all, venues and every kind of facility, starting with the Olympic and Paralympic Villages."

Noted Pancalli: "In this case, the vision embraces both the Paralympic and Olympic Movements, as a more global and comprehensive concept. Olympic and Paralympic athletes must be at the heart of everything we will do, equally."

"Milan–Cortina 2026 will be the Games for all," Malagò said. "One same vision: Change culture through sport with five key goals. Deliver the Games for all, providing a positive experience for the entire population. Sustainable development. Promotion of the Olympic spirit and values. Development of the practice of sport, in particular ice and snow disciplines. Strengthening of the Olympic brand and the benefits of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm.

"We have the support of 83 per cent of Italians."

Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala declared: "We have prepared the Games to be friendly to the planet."

"This is a vision the Olympics will contribute towards," he said, adding the level of support of local people is high. "This is why 87 per cent of Milanese say 'yes' to the Olympic Games."

Speaking alongside Sala, Governor of Veneto Luca Zaia recalled the last time his region hosted the Games. "It is our duty to transfer the call of the Olympic Movement to the alpine context. This will be a commitment to the future, and an immense privilege. After more than 60 years, the Dolomites are ready to repeat the Olympic Winter Games experience of Cortina 1956."

Olympic champions Michela Moioli and Sofia Goggia on stage during the Milan–Cortina 2026 final presentation. (Greg Martin/IOC)

Both Prime Minister Conte and, through a pre-recorded video message, Italian President Sergio Mattarella also made remarks in Milan–Cortina's final presentation.

Olympic champions Michela Moioli, Sofia Goggia, and Arianna Fontana all also spoke, with Fontana emphasising the athletes' experience.

"The regions are busy, bustling areas and the emotion becomes energy for sport," she said. "The athletes' energy in the mountains will be matched in the cities."

Milan–Cortina's presentation concluded with 15-year-old short-track speed skater Elisa Confortola, a European Youth Olympic Festival athlete.

"This is a powerful stimulus and a source of pride," she told IOC Members. "We are here today to ask our dream to come true."

Stockholm–Åre centred on "sustainability"

Rivals Stockholm–Åre, meanwhile, had focussed on the theme of "sustainability."

Its chief executive Richard Brisius said: "The Stockholm–Åre 2026 vision is simple yet powerful. We want to create a transformative Winter Games that promotes healthy lifestyles, promotes inclusivity, promotes sustainability and promotes a model based on the new reality of the Olympic movement.

"Stockholm–Åre 2026 can inspire young people in Sweden, young people in Latvia for years to come, as the Olympic Winter Games comes to their countries for the first time ever. An emphasis on inclusivity will bring our societies closer together at a time when it is needed the most."

Addressing IOC Members on the question of governmental and financial guarantees, Brisius claimed: "The IOC has requested certain guarantees under the new candidature process from us and we have delivered those."

Olympic champion Stefan Holm on stage during the Stockholm–Åre 2026 final presentation. (Greg Martin/IOC)

The Olympic champion, IOC Athletes' Commission member Stefan Holm addressed the Session from an athlete's point of view.

"Planning for the Games has to begin and end with one simple question, what's in the best interest of the athletes, he said."

"Our village is not only tailored for athletes, it is also fully sustainable," he added.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven insisted: "You have asked for reforms, in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm. Stockholm–Åre is the right candidate to deliver this.

"You can depend on Sweden. You can trust Sweden. Our nation is trustworthy and so are our guarantees. Being on time, following a set plan, being honest is a core of the Swedish working culture. It is so today, and it will be so in 2026."

"Let's develop the Games with the stability and reliability of Sweden."

Concluding the presentation, IOC member and Sweden's NOC secretary-general Gunilla Lindberg told her colleagues: "I believe the movement needs three things in 2026: A partner that can deliver on time, on budget and with no drama or surprises.

"The question for you today is: Is the IOC ready for the New Norm, or is it just talk?"

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Proposed venues

An internal view of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) in Milan, proposed site of the 2026 Opening Ceremony. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Milan and Cortina have suggested four competition zones with six Athletes' Villages.

Alongside the two lead cities, the areas of Valtellina and Val di Fiemme have been put forward to hold events.

It is proposed that Milan will hold ice hockey, figure skating, and short track speed skating; Valtellina (Bormio and Livigno) will welcome men's alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, and snowboard; women's alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge, skeleton, curling, and biathlon will take place around Cortina, and Val di Fiemme will host cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating. The sixth proposed Village will be for biathlon athletes, based in hotels at Antholz.

Only one permanent competition venue (for ice hockey) needs to be built, although it is being built irrespective of the Games.

Milan's Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, also known as the San Siro stadium, is expected to host the Opening Ceremony, with the Closing Ceremony at Verona's ancient Roman amphitheatre.

IOC President Thomas Bach and delegates from Milan Cortina sign the 2026 Winter Olympics Host City Agreement (Greg Martin/IOC)