By Jack Tarrant
TOKYO (Reuters) – Stockholm and an Italian two-city bid made presentations to host the 2026 Winter Games on Wednesday with both embracing the IOC’s ‘The New Norm’ programme which is aimed at making it cheaper and easier to stage the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) faces its most serious bidding crisis in decades after several cities dropped out of the 2026 race, leaving just two candidates.
The IOC has called The New Norm “an ambitious set of 118 reforms that reimagines how the Olympic Games are delivered”.
On the first day of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly, the Italian bid of Milan-Cortina D’Ampezzo said 93 percent of its venues would be temporary or already exist.
“We are interpreting the new rules to put together a big city like Milan and then the mountains, avoiding throwing away money and making a very sustainable offer,” Milan mayor Guiseppe Sala told Reuters after the presentation.
Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region, said there would be no “white elephants”, whilst the Italians claimed 83 percent of Milan’s citizens favoured the bid.
Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malago said giving a winter Olympics to countries such as Sweden or Italy, with their rich history of winter sports and pre-existing venues, was the future of Olympic bidding under The New Norm.
Stockholm’s bid also played on themes of sustainability.
“I think The New Norm and the new terms of organising Olympic Games definitely fits into our way of thinking,” Swedish Olympic Committee chief Mats Arjes said after the presentation.
The Italian bid is far from guaranteed enough political support amid the country’s financial woes, while Stockholm faces opposition from a new city government which said last month it would not back a bid that includes taxpayer funding.
The IOC will elect the winners in June, 2019.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Ken Ferris)