On Monday afternoon the International Olympic Committee announced the host city for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. Find out what the committee highlighted and what that could mean for a future Salt Lake City Olympic bid.
“The members of the International Olympic Committee have elected the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2026,” IOC President Thomas Bach said while opening an envelope Monday afternoon in Switzerland. “The host is Milano-Cortina.”
That announcment was met with a roar of approval from the Italian delegation. The northern Italy region was awarded the 2026 games over a bid from Stockholm-Are by a vote of 47 to 34.
President of the Italian National Olympic Committee Giovanni Malago spoke to the body before the vote.
“The Milano-Cortina 2026 bid was inspired by the IOC agenda 2020 and by the new norm,” Malago explained. “Reforms that clearly reposition the Olympic and Paralympic games as more sustainable, more flexible and economic; from both an operation financial point of view whilst also unlocking more long-term value for host cities.”
This past December the U.S. Olympic Committee identified Salt Lake City as a host city for a future Olympic bid. That Salt Lake City bid could be for the 2034 Winter Olympics or as early as the 2030 games. The IOC is scheduled to award the bid for the 2030 games in four years, but those involved in the Olympic movement have said the bid could be awarded sooner.
One priority emphasized by the IOC in their decision for the 2026 host city was the use of current venue spaces over the construction of new facilities.
13 of the 14 facilities either exist currently or will be temporary facilities for the 2026 games in northern Italy. In comparison Sweden proposed using nine existing or temporary facilities of the 12 they needed.
Many of the venues from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics are still in use today thanks to organizations such as the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and businesses such as Deer Valley and Park City Mountain resorts.
The IOC also noted that the Milan-Cortina project has the unified backing of the Italian sports movement, the private sector and national, regional and city government.
The Salt Lake City Olympic movement likewise has seen early support from elected officials in Salt Lake City, and Park City as well as officials from the State of Utah.
IOC polls found 87% of Milan residents surveyed supported the bid. Just 54% of Stockholm residents supported their bid.
A Utah Policy.com survey conducted in January by Dan Jones and Associates found that 87% of Utahns strongly or somewhat supported Salt Lake City hosting a future Olympics.
The cost to bid on the games was significantly cheaper for Italy and Sweden. The IOC reported the cost was 75% lower than the average budgets for cities vying for the 2018 and 2022 Olympic games.
The proposed operating budgets for the games were also 20% lower than those of candidate cities for the 2018 and 2022 winter games.