Passionate start to Milano Cortina 2026’s journey to Games

After the creation of the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee on Monday, the newly formed organisation wasted no time in getting to work, with the two-day (10-11 December) International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Milano Cortina 2026 Delivery Partners Kick-off Meeting held in Milan. Featuring athletes, members of the local sports movement, representatives of the authorities and IOC experts, the meeting was an opportunity for all the partners to get up to date with the Milano Cortina 2026 project and the latest innovations in Games management from the IOC.

Building on the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm, the seminar attendees heard about how the IOC is helping organisers to deliver Games that will fit the plans of the host region, and how the New Norm is evolving to focus more on the experience around the Games. It was also the ideal occasion for the newly appointed Chair of the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, Sari Essayah, to meet all the partners that will deliver the Games over the next seven years.

Speaking after the meeting, Essayah commented, “It was very exciting to feel the energy amongst the different delivery partners at the Kick-off Meeting. When I was an athlete, I regularly competed in the Milan area, and I remember the passion of the Italian people for sport and the Olympic Games; but this is on another level. This northern area of Italy has a great Olympic heritage, with the legacies of Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956 and Turin 2006 still bringing benefits to the region today. Milano Cortina 2026 will continue this tradition with Games for a new era that have been designed to fit in with the long-term plans of the region and not vice-versa. I very much look forward to working with our Italian partners over the coming seven years.”

Various Italian athletes and sporting legends, including Arianna Fontana, Diana Bianchedi, Francesca Porcellato, Gabriella Paruzzi, Giorgio Rocca and Niccolò Campriani, played a key role throughout the event, underlining the important role that the athletes played during the candidature process, as well as the active involvement they will have over the next seven years, as the project is developed and delivered. Their key message was that the athletes should be at the heart of the development of the Games project and key advisors in the main decisions that impact their Games experience.

Milano Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò commented, “The Delivery Partners Kick-off Meeting was an important initiative that we greatly appreciated – a winning start that allowed us to breathe in the atmosphere of the Games with the technicians, athletes, territorial bodies and stakeholders. Milano Cortina 2026 intends to write the future. We are ready for some great teamwork in order to develop this innovative project in the best possible way. To do that, we can count on the know-how and collaboration of the IOC, which we thank for its great support. I’d also like to thank IOC Coordination Commission Chair Sari Essayah for her presence this week, along with the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi, and his staff.”

The attendees heard from the Mayors of Milan and Cortina, respectively Giuseppe Sala and Gianpietro Ghedina, along with Attilio Fontana and Luca Zaia, the Governors of Lombardy and Veneto, about their views on the Milano Cortina project. Finally, the Presidents of Trento and Bolzano, Maurizio Fugatti and Arno Kompatscher, also spoke about the perspectives of the two provinces.

The political stakeholders also discussed the vision of Milano Cortina 2026, which is to deliver memorable Olympic Winter Games that embrace sustainability, using Italy’s experience, passion and heritage in winter sports to inspire athletes and deliver many long-term benefits for sport and society. The vision is underpinned by five key goals that will deliver a range of benefits, including Games for all providing a positive experience for the entire population, including spectators, residents, athletes and stakeholders; sustainable development and cooperation in the macro-Alpine region; promotion of the Olympic spirit and values; development of Italy’s Alpine and Dolomites region into a major sports and tourism hub; and strengthening of the Olympic brand and the benefits of Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm.

Various themes were addressed during the two-day meeting, including the vision and ambition of the Milano Cortina 2026 project; the IOC’s new approach to Games organisation and delivery; the Paralympic Games; sport and athletes at the heart of the Olympic Games; the opportunities of hosting the Olympic Winter Games; the role of commercial partners; and engaging and mobilising fans locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The first visit of the full IOC Coordination Commission to Milano Cortina 2026 will be in September 2020.

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