|Host city||Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy|
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The 2026 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXV Olympic Winter Games (Italian: XXV Giochi olimpici invernali), and commonly known as Milano Cortina 2026 or Milan Cortina 2026, is a forthcoming international multi-sport event that is scheduled to take place from 6 to 22 February 2026 in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo. Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo beat another joint bid from Swedish cities Stockholm-Åre by 47-34 votes to be elected host cities at the 134th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 24 June 2019.
This will be the fourth Olympic Games hosted in Italy; Cortina d'Ampezzo previously hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics, and the first hosted in Milan. It will be the first Olympic Games featuring two host cities in an official form.[note 1] It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, the most recent Winter Olympics in Italy and the 70th anniversary of the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, the first Olympics in Italy.
Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo were elected as the host cities on 24 June 2019 at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland. The three Italian IOC members, Franco Carraro, Ivo Ferriani and Giovanni Malagò, and two Swedish IOC members, Gunilla Lindberg and Stefan Holm, were ineligible to vote in this host city election under the rules of the Olympic Charter.
In light of the precarious and, at times, the use of back-room deals and other corruptive practices by various cities and their supportive entities around the world that want to host an Olympic Games in the past, the International Olympic Committee decided in June 2019 to reform the future host city process. It is one part of the overall IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020 project to modernize the Olympic Movement.
Officially, since the selection of Berlin to host the 1936 Summer Olympics and of Oslo to host the 1952 Winter Olympics, candidate cities around the world that wanted to host either Games had to compete against each other directly and indirectly for years toward a crucial IOC Session. Within that crucial IOC Session, a host city is chosen amongst the current IOC membership of that moment in time. Unfortunately, with any "winner take all" contests, the losing cities are left with nothing to show for it. If those cities really want to host one in the future, they had to start the bidding process all over again with no guarantee that they would subsequently succeed. Three of the biggest examples of this are the following: Detroit (1952 - 1972 Summer Olympics consecutively), Sweden (various locations for the Winter Olympics from 1984 - 2002 consecutively and 2026), and Madrid (2012 - 2020 Summer Olympics consecutively).
As this aspect of the Olympic Agenda 2020 is currently a work in progress, there will be a range from skepticism to outright hostility from the general public about the viability of the Olympic Games in the 21st century and beyond. For example, read the comment section from this reference article here. If this overall idea holds, along with viable changes over time, then the 2026 Winter Olympics would be the last Olympic Games where cities compete against each other for IOC member votes. The first test of this new scheme is the "targeting" and "preferred host" for the 2032 Summer Olympics to Brisbane, Australia.
A firm criterion for the Winter Olympics is the availability of adequate alpine skiing venues, which narrows down potential locations significantly. The men's downhill requires a minimum vertical drop of 800 metres (2,625 feet), with a course length of around 3 kilometres (1.9 miles). Bormio and Cortina are notable regular stops on the World Cup circuit for men's and women's downhills, respectively.
For the 2026 Winter Olympics, the IOC allowed a longer distance between events so that alpine skiing can be held in a mountain area, and indoor sports such as ice hockey and figure skating can be held in a large city more than 160 km (100 mi) away, where such arenas are already available or have greater usage after the games.
A certain spectator capacity is required, most often 10,000, but varies according to the particular sport. Furthermore, certain VIP areas are required at every venue.
National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman stated in 2017 that NHL players were unlikely to be included if the Winter Games was held outside of North America. However, on 6 July 2020, the league and its players' union announced a tentative agreement to extend their Collective Bargaining Agreement, which included provisions for participating in the 2022 and 2026 Olympics.
On June 18, 2021, the International Olympic Committee issued a proposal for a new winter sport, ski mountaineering, beginning with the 2026 Winter Olympics. The proposal to add the sport will be voted on during the IOC's session in Tokyo, taking place from July 20-21.
The official emblem for the games was decided through a global online vote that opened on 6 March 2021. The two candidate emblems were unveiled at the Sanremo Music Festival 2021 by former Italian Olympic gold medallists Federica Pellegrini and Alberto Tomba and are nicknamed "Dado" and "Futura". They were both designed by Landor Associates. It is reportedly the first time that the emblem of an Olympic Games was decided by the public.