Bobsled, skeleton and luge events will be held in Austria or Switzerland instead of Italy, the official host of the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Italy will not build the new bobsled track it needs to host competitions for the adrenaline-filled sport in the upcoming 2026 Winter Olympics, taking place in the north.
Euronews previously reported that costs for the track had spiralled out of control, with not a single company submitting a bid in the summer for the costly new construction.
According to estimates, it would have cost between €93 and €120 million.
Now Italy’s Olympics officials said the new bobsled track - which needed to be built from scratch as it was too costly to rebuild an already existing one shut down 15 years ago - will never be built.
It should have been finished by December 2024, when it would have been used for the first time in a test event ahead of the Winter Games.
This decision, which was almost inevitable after months of debates and setbacks, is crucial for the Italian Winter Games and will mean that part of the Olympics - the bobsled, luge, and skeleton competitions - will have to be hosted in another country.
Giovanni Malagò, Italy’s CONI (the Italian National Olympics Committee) president, said on Monday that the decision to leave the project dead in the water was made by both the country’s government and the International Olympic Committee (ICO).
It’s not yet clear which country will host the bobsled competitions in Italy’s place.
The mayor of Innsbruck, Georg Willi, has previously offered Italian officials the Austrian city’s facilities, asking for about €12.5 million to update and adjust the structure.
Italy so far ignored the offer. But things might have drastically changed after Monday, making Innsbruck a potential candidate, as well as St. Moritz in Switzerland.
American officials expressed their disappointment at the Italian decision.
“USA Luge is disappointed that the location of the sliding sports venue for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games has been moved away from Cortina, as we believe it would have been an ideal location given its history,” USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy said.
“That said, our athletes will be ready and enthusiastic for the competitions, regardless of where they take place.”