Italy 2026 Olympic organizers sign deal to rebuild sliding track amid IOC deadlock

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Barely two years before the start of the 2026 Winter Olympics, the local organizing committee signed a contract on Friday to rebuild a century-old bobsleigh track in Cortina d’Ampezzo, putting a “full stop” to a saga that begins with the Italian Minister of Finance. regret having supported the offer.

The contract is with Parma-based construction company Impresa Pizzarotti & C., which has offered to rebuild the Cortina track for 81.6 million euros (about $118 million). Work will begin on February 19.

The Milan-Cortina Games committee announced Tuesday its decision to move forward with the International Olympic Committee, which wants an existing foreign venue in neighboring Austria or Switzerland to be used instead to reduce costs. costs. But the Italian government does not want to finance a theater abroad.

“This choice puts an end to all this and testifies to the extreme determination of this government to complete all the work for the Games in the best possible way and in Italy,” we can read in a press release.

“The Minister of Transport Matteo Salvini and the Minister of Sports Andrea Abodi confirm this with great satisfaction.”

Next Tuesday will be exactly two years before the opening ceremony in Milan, but the Cortina track must be ready before then. There is less than a year left before the test events mandated by the IOC, and the Milan-Cortina committee is aware that “under no circumstances” can the new track be certified after March 2025.

No sliding track has been built recently in such a short period of time and the organizers are continuing negotiations for a possible plan B – probably in a neighboring country – which would require an additional budget.

Timing risk

There is a risk that if the project is not ready in time, the committee will have to spend more, while continuing to finance the reconstruction of the Cortina track which would not be used for the Olympics.

“The Olympics do not take place every two years, they take place in 2026 and then they will not come again, and I am starting to regret having supported them, because I feel the responsibility for it,” said the minister of Finance Giancarlo Giorgetti.

Giorgetti was speaking at a meeting in Sondrio, in the Valtellina valley which is also home to Bormio where the men’s skiing will take place.

He added that an electronic sign should be placed “at the entrance to Valtellina, indicating how many days are left to make us understand the necessary urgency.”

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