Reconstruction Progress Cross-Country Ski Center at the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Winter Games

FasterSkierAugust 5, 2022
Celebration abounds following Jessie Diggins’ Olympic silver medal in the 30 k mass start skate in Zhangjiakou, CHN. U.S. Ski Team head coach Matt Whitcomb and cross-country program director Chris Grover wear orange hats near the top-right corner. (Photo: NordicFocus)

The upcoming 2026 Milan Cortina Winter Olympic Games are being marketed as a festival of entertainment and athletics, all the way from Rome to the Mountain flair of Castel d’Ampezzo.

Having introduced the Olympics to younger fans in Sochi and some other European countries, the Olympic Committee will return to the more stable ground by hosting the opening of the Winter Olympics in France’s finest renowned mountainous region – Chamonix.

The Olympic Winter Games 2026 will be the most widely covered sporting event in history. Sites spanning a total of 22,000 hectares of northern Italy, from the counties of Trento to the districts of Milano and Padua, have been already earmarked for the event.

However, many athletes, especially some outspoken snowboarders from Italy, are critical of how the affairs of the upcoming event are being run. Before we look at the grounds of their objections, let’s review the facts of the relatively recent Coordination Group meeting with the Cortina Organizing division.

Clare Egan helps the Americans to seventh place in the opening mixed relay during the 2022 Winter Olympics. (Photo: NordicFocus)

IOC Meeting in Cortina

The IOC Coordination Commission division formally met with the Cortina 2026 organizing body for the first time in March 2020. 2026 Olympic Winter Games Cortina Organizing division kept the division up to date on how far gone they are after successfully clinching the rights to host part of the 2026 games in view.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, received the commission’s members. Notable attendants included Sari Essayah – chairman of the coordination commission meeting, Kikkan Randall – one-time skiing champion representing the Athletes Commission and Sarah Lewis – Secretary General of the FIS. Others were Giovanniï Malago – President of Italy’s National Committee, and Vincenzo Novarí – CEO of Milan 2026.

The Commission heard from representatives of the Organization founders, including the President of Italy’s Paralympic Group, Luca Pancalli; Mayor Giuseppe Sala; Mayor of Cortina Gianpietro Ghedina; and President of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana; while an address was also delivered on behalf of the President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia. The representative of the Federal Government, Valerio Toniolo; the President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Arno Kompatscher; and the President of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Maurizio Fugatti, also addressed the Commission.

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Jessie Diggins (USA) on her way to the USA’s first ever individual women’s medal in the Olympics. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Affirmations from Members of the Committee

No one is in a better position to detail how far gone reconstruction work is than the President of the group and head of the Italian Olympics, Giovanni Malago. And what he had to say at the meeting was to affirm the suspicions of the public that renovations for the 2026 Milan Cortina Winter Olympic are far behind, even though plans are in motion to reconstruct the facilities actively.

Members of the Cortina division are planning to redirect activities to some of the pre-existing structures designed for the 2006 competition if Turin fails to work out. There are still some years left, however.

Organizing Group president Giovanni affirmed that major improvements would be made to the infrastructure before the start of the 2026 Olympic games.

In his case, IOC president Thomas Bach has suggested a reform plan which has long been adhered to by the 2026 organizers. The agenda allows the event to take place in the pre-existing infrastructures – including in cases where it might mean that the event would be played away from the city center.

With these plans in place, Come ’26, the Rome center will be set aside to cater to hockey, speed skating and even figure skating. In Val Di Fiemme, however, sportsmen would engage in skiing and Nordic winter sports in Baselga. Livigno will host snowboarding games. Bormio, however, will be set aside to cater to the Alpine skiing center. There would be some hour rides that entail a tour into inner Europe as the straight path trails over the mountainous slopes, which will be inaccessible come winter.

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Therese Johaug (NOR) on top in the first cross-country competition at the 2022 Olympics (Photo: NordicFocus)

Objections from Members of the Public

However, there’ve been notable objections to these arrangements for the event. For instance, a former giant slalom world champion observed that the willingness of the organizing committee to resort to holding the competition at premodern centers indicated just how inefficient the organizers are in carrying out the reconstructions.

That’s aside from the fact that some notable infrastructural installations are yet to even kick-off.

For example, a railway line and a full-yard sliding trail cross area center must be totally renovated in Cortina. They’re estimated to cost a total of $70million. However, the construction work is yet to start at the center, even though a draft was presented to the organizers in December.

Same as in Baselga, work is yet to commence on the speed skating trail center crucial to the event. Little wonder now why members of the public and intending athletes are heavily critical of Italy’s national organizing assembly.

Kevin Bolger and Maja Dahlqvist enjoy a masked moment together following Dahlqvist’s second place finish in the skate sprint. (Courtesy photo)

Summary

If the reconstruction efforts seem wanting, that’d be because a lot of effort is being poured into ensuring future participants are left with sporting event centers and accompanying infrastructure that would be more than adequate for the ’26 Games. While the IOC regards the provision of proper sporting facilities as a mission of its, that’s merely aside from the more important objective of fostering better unity among all nations.

 

Another problem the Cortina 2026 organizing committee wants to resolve regards the proper choice of appropriate sporting center for different events. The panel’s executive board, established earlier in the year, created a Commission board to oversee every aspect of the affair. The commission board is further split into an organizing body

 

The group looks into sustaining the sliding center and seeks to work alongside the concerned municipal and international bodies.

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