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Italy considers bidding for 2026 Winter Olympics

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Italy considers bidding for 2026 Winter Olympics
The opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, which may make another bid to host the games. Photo: Francesco Monteforte/AFP
15:00 CET+01:00
Italy is considering a push to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, two years after Rome's major scuppered the city's bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

In 2016, Mayor Virginia Raggi's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) killed off the Italian capital's bid to host its first Summer Olympics since 1960.

But M5S party founder Beppe Grillo, a former stand-up comedian, has since done a U-turn and believes "the Olympic Games are a great occasion for Turin and for the Movement".

"We will prove we can have zero debts and [host] in a sustainable way," said Grillo.

Turin's M5S mayor Chiara Appendino wants the northern Italian city to issue a "manifestation of interest" to the International Olympic Committee.

Meanwhile, the president of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, of the populist-right Lega party, has put forward the hypothesis of a candidacy of the Dolomites. Milan is also being considered.

"There is a beautiful fight for positions," said the president of Italy's Olympic Committee (Coni), Giovanni Malago. "Suddenly everything is back in fashion. Perhaps because of the success of Pyeongchang, and not only the sporting success."


The luge track in Cesana Pairol, at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Italy was plunged into uncertainty after the March 4th elections resulted in a hung parliament with no group in a position to govern alone. The M5S became Italy's leading single party with 32.7 percent of the vote.

Malago said that any decision would depend on the future government. "For a bid three legs are needed: the local authority, the government and the Italian Olympic committee," he said.

"In this case there is already the availability of the local authority and Coni, but we must listen to the new executive – when there's a government," he added. "It is not the mayor who writes to the IOC to express the will of the city to apply, but the president of Coni."

Italy has twice hosted the Winter Olympics – in Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomites in 1956 and Turin in 2006.

Sion in Switzerland has already announced it intends to bid, with Turkey also considering throwing its hat in the ring, along with Innsbruck in Austria, Calgary in Canada, Stockholm and the Japanese city of Sapporo. Almaty in Kazakhstan is another possible candidate.

Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Games, after hosting the Summer Games in 2008.

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