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SIGHS OF RELIEF ALL ROUND - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Tuesday June 25, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI looks at the luke warm bidding process that led to the 2026 Games going to Italy. It's been a long & hard road for the IOC.




Once the cheers, screams, applause and general back slapping from the Italian delegation had died down there was an even bigger noise echoing round the cavernous hall in Lausanne.

But you had to listen closely.

Very closely.

It was a huge and continuing collective sigh of relief from the Olympic Movement.

The 2026 Winter Olympics had looked like the Games no-one wanted and had been rejected by public votes in Austria, Switzerland and Canada.

The people with winter sports running through their veins in Innsbruck, Sion and Calgary had given a two-fingered salute to the IOC and the idea of hosting the Winter Olympics in public votes.

They viewed the organisation as arrogant, out of touch and even corrupt.

At one stage it looked like the Italian and Swedish bids would not even make it through.

Leaving the IOC with no candidates.

Something that has never happened in Olympic history.

A Plan B was speculated upon.

Bring forward a 2030 potential bid from Salt Lake City in Utah USA and award it without competition.

The IOC would have had little option.

But then pressure was brought with the two remaining potential bidders in Sweden and Italy also seeing an opportunity.

It was a close run thing getting all the political and public support on board.

The not so small matters of financial guarantees

Sweden will not be surprised by its loss.

Italy will not be surprised by its victory.

It was a close run thing - not for the candidate cities but for the Olympic Movement.

The public should be clamouring to have the Games in their home cities but the vote and the history of getting here does not reflect that.

It was a tepid campaign.

The Italian bid still has hurdles to overcome.

The IOC Evaluation Commission questioned the proposal to revamp the Eugenio Monti Sliding Centre in Cortina, closed since 2008, instead of using an existing venue elsewhere in Europe.

There are worries about having separate men's and women's Alpine skiing venues, in Bormio and Cortina..

Then there are concerns over the state of the Italian economy.

Bid officials have promised to address the concerns and insisted Italy's delicate financial situation would not hamper their preparations.

If the IOC thinks the 2026 bidding process has been a triumph then the delegates remain somewhat out of touch.

The hall where the decision was reached is now empty but the sighs of relief are echoing around.

And they will be for a long while to come.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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