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Italy selected to host 2026 Winter Olympics

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By Kalhan Rosenblatt and The Associated Press  with NBC News World News
Image: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach leaves t
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach leaves the stage after his opening speech of the 134th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held to decide which of Stockholm/Are or rival Italian bid Milan/Cortina d'Ampezzo will   -   Copyright  Favrice Coffrini

The International Olympic Committee announced on Monday that Italy's bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics has been accepted.

The games will be held in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, IOC President Thomas Bach revealed during the announcement ceremony.

After a day-long conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, which included presentations and questioning in closed-door sessions, the IOC selected Milan-Cortina over rival Stockholm-Are to host the games.

The vote was held at the SwissTech conference center where the IOC decided the 2024 Olympics and 2028 Olympics would be held in Paris and Los Angeles, respectively. The announcement was then broadcast on giant screens at the Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan, as well as in Piazza Angelo Di Bona in Cortina.

Piazza Garibaldi in Sondrio, Italy, which is between Milan and Cortina, also broadcast the announcement.

A public announcement wasn't planned in Sweden.

Eighty-three members of the IOC were eligible to vote on the location of the 2026 Winter Olympics, but President Thomas Bach abstained from the vote, leaving a total of 82 votes. However, Bach was able to cast a vote if there was a tie between the two cities. Voters included the Emir of Qatar and the Princess Royal of Britain.

On Monday afternoon, ahead of the announcement, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stressed his country's desire to host the 2026 games.

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"If I am here today in front of you, it is thanks to the enthusiasm of all Italy. ... This is the dream of an entire country, and not only the government but also the regions," Conte said.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said ahead of the vote that he was proud to have been involved in the decision-making process.

"Seriously, I am very proud to be part of this. It's important to Sweden, we're a big winter sports nation. We love this, we know how to do this," Lofven said.