Milan-Cortina 2026 Welcomes IOC Inspectors

(ATR) The Italian 2026 bid will officially receive all necessary government support in the coming days.

(ATR) The Milan-Cortina bid for the 2026 Winter Games will officially receive all necessary government support over the coming days.

"These are very important days to us and the Italian government is also participating in the initiative," Italian undersecretary of state in charge of sport Giancarlo Giorgettitold a room of approximately 70 reporters assembled in Venice on Monday afternoon.

"I am pleased to inform you that regional bodies, national bodies are signing the agreement of responsibility and guarantees and an official letter that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will sign in the next days, I hope by Friday."

Giorgetti’s remarks came at a news conference preceding the IOC Evaluation Commission’s five-day inspection visit to proposed 2026 Olympic venues spread across the Veneto and Lombardy regions of northern Italy.

"The Italian government will sign the formal letter in the form established by the IOC for security, health and safety," Giorgetti advised. "We’ve asked the organizing committee to point out what are the most important work that can be financed by the government."

An Italian spokesperson confirms that Conte’s backing of the bid will include a guarantee for national security totalling about 400 million euros.

Giorgetti affirms that in cooperation with the Italian National Olympic Committee all levels of Italian government are committed to the organization of the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.

Asked by Around the Ringsabout the level of public engagement and support for Italy’s bid considering no referendum has or will be held, Giorgetti claims there is no concern whatsoever.

"Veneto and Lombardy back this bid, citizens support this bid and for this reason, local and Italian regional government support this bid," Giorgetti responded. "We don’t need a referendum – we are sure that in the future the local administrations and the government in Rome will support this."

While Giorgetti focused upon the burgeoning government and public support for Italy’s latest Olympic bid, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago and Veneto region president Luca Zaia spoke passionately about their dreams of a Winter Games return to Italy following Cortina in 1956 and Torino in 2006.

The Milan-Cortina candidature slogan was also unveiled – "Dreaming Together".

"It’s a new dream to host the Olympic Games 2026 in these two different cities – Milan and Cortina," Malago said.

"We are beyond proud that now we are here," said the Italian NOC chief and IOC member. "I think very positively for what we have done before and specifically what will be done this next week."

Zaia directed his comments about Italy’s dream towards IOC Evaluation Commission chairman Octavian Morariu.

"This big dream of ours – we are all here together," Zaia said. "Having this evaluation commission here is already achieving a major goal.

"We have been studying a lot and we are ready to answer all of your questions. We have a wonderful team and we are ready to work very hard."

Like Malago, Zaia exuded similar passion and confidence about the Italian bid.

"We really believe in this dream, we don’t just want to participate, we want to win this time," he said.

Milan-Cortina is vying against Stockholm-Are for the right to host the 2026 Games, a winner to be determined at the IOC Session in Lausanne on June 24.

Moriaru, a former rugby player for his native Romania, thanked the Italians for their hospitality before explaining his team’s mission, having already completed an inspection visit to Sweden two weeks ago.

"We have been working hard with the two bidding cities to build good technical propositions," Morariu said. "We are confident the bids will be raised to our expectations, it has been done under the Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm.

"We speak about flexibility and that means we need to adapt to the needs of the cities, not only to the cities, but most important the populations.

"We try with these cities not only to reduce costs, but to maximize legacy and promote sustainability.

Malago, president of CONI since 2013 and an IOC member elected at the 2018 Buenos Aires session, said the Italian bid could revolutionize the Olympic Movement.

"We are working under the umbrella of Agenda 2020 – we have used it as our best and we are now a case history for that," Malago said. "We are proud of this and we have been kind of pioneers for a candidacy."

Milan-Cortina 2026 was the first to include two joint candidate cities in the official bid name.

Malago also noted that the results of a survey gauging public support, similar to what was released in Stockholm at the end of the IOC’s visit, will be made public on Saturday, the final day of the commission’s visit.

"You have to be patient," Malago joked with reporters.

Following the news conference, all parties made the two-hour drive north to Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the Italian Dolomites.

The venue tours begin on Tuesday morning with a ride up Cortina’s Rumerlo chairlift which ascends above the Olympia delle Tofane downhill course, which was used during the 1956 Games. From there, the IOC and Italian sport officials will visit the future Fiames Olympic Village.

Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Venice

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