(ATR) The deputy prime minister threw his weight behind an Italian Olympic bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics a day after Turin withdrew from the process.
Turin’s withdrawal left officials scrambling to save a potential Olympic bid, but the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) said it would press forward with a bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.
The three cities had political discussions about cost and venue sharing, but a sticking point about the name led to Turin’s departure. The political infighting had led Italian Undersecretary to the Prime Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti,who has a mandate for sport, to declare the bid was "dead".
Immediately, governors from the Veneto and Lombardy regions of Italy declared support for a Milan and Cortina joint bid saying "we are willing to carry forward this challenge together". Afterwards CONI President Giovanni Malago met with Giorgetti to discuss a two-city bid.
Now, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said unequivocally that the national government would support a 2026 Winter Olympics bid.
"The Olympics bring lots of money and investment advantages," Salvini said. "We will work to get everyone to agree, doing everything possible to have them hosted in Italy."
CONI is meeting with the IOC today in Lausanne to present the two city bid, as part of the ongoing dialogue phase for the 2026 bid race. Official bid books for the 2026 Olympics are not due until January 2019, but the IOC will select the official candidate cities for 2026 at its session this October. CONI said it is updating the IOC with developments ahead of the session choice.
Presenting a Milan, Cortina joint bid will not definitively rule out any changes to the plan between now and January, should Italy move into the candidature phase a CONI spokesperson told Around the Rings.
"We are open and free to reconsider Turin if it wants [to rejoin]," a CONI official said.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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