Italian bid received to build controversial Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics sliding track as IOC deadline looms

Milan-Cortina 2026 officials face a January 31 IOC deadline to select a venue for bobsled, luge and skeleton

Eugenio Monti Sliding Track in Cortina d'Ampezzo circa 2007. The track opened in 1923 and closed in 2008 (Wikipedia Photo)
Eugenio Monti Sliding Track in Cortina d’Ampezzo circa 2007. The track opened in 1923 and closed in 2008 (Wikipedia Photo)

Italian officials have received a single bid to reconstruct the historic but controversial Eugenio Monti sliding track in Cortina d’Ampezzo for the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games. The response to an urgent tender was received ahead of Thursday’s (January 18) noon deadline from Italian construction giant Pizzarotti.

Previous requests for construction bids to revive the 1956 Winter Games venue expired without any interest, but the political will to keep the event in Italy and provide a legacy for Cortina has kept this seemingly impossible dream alive.

The 81.6 million euro (USD $88,700) project, if approved by the state of Veneto, will reportedly move forward whether the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approves of its use for the Games or not – according to Italian newspaper Avvenire.

An IOC endorsement seems unlikely as officials have constantly urged Italian organizers to leverage existing facilities in nearby Switzerland, Austria or Germany. The venue built for the Turin 2006 Winter Games was subsequently mothballed and sliding officials have emphasized that there are already enough tracks available globally.

In December, the IOC urged the Milan-Cortina organizing committee to invite other sliding venues to bid for the 2026 bobsled, luge and skeleton events and five or six are apparently in the running, even from as far away as Lake Placid, United States.

If another home is found it will mark the first time a Winter Games venue is held outside of the host nation.

On Thursday following an IOC Executive Board meeting held ahead of the opening of the Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Winter Games, Executive Director Christophe Dubi told reporters “we, from the very beginning felt that this venue was extremely complex in terms of cost, in terms of legacy, in terms of timing, and we have promoted the use of an existing track.”

“We know with certainty that a decision will be made soon, by the 31st of January.”

Timelines are tight and the risks would be high for the successful construction and testing of the track.

Italian officials will reportedly meet Monday (January 22) to discuss the matter and again on January 30 to approve the project, only one day ahead of the IOC’s decision deadline. If the track is to be built, the organizing committee and the Italian Olympic Committee (IOC) will have to persuade the IOC to approve the plans, and that will likely need to include an extension of critical milestones.

Construction for the approved project will begin immediately in February and would be due for completion by November 2024 so that it is available for necessary test events in January 2025.

Previously the IOC urged organizers of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games not to build a new sliding track at Alpensia and instead stage the Olympic events at an existing track in Nagano, Japan. South Korea constructed the track anyways and has gone on to host many international sliding competitions including the Youth Olympic Winter Games this week.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

scroll to top