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Milano Cortina Winter Olympic organizers approve new speed skating venue

Fiera Milano

Organizers of the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Olympics unanimously approved using the Fiera exhibition center in Milan as its speed skating venue rather than the 2006 Olympic oval in Turin.

Organizers said the project will be financed privately, and the temporary venue will not be used for speed skating after the Games end.

When it was awarded the Games in 2019, the Milano Cortina plan called for speed skating under a roof at an outdoor track at Baselga di Piné, which lies between Milan and Cortina, which are separated by 200 miles.

The IOC rejected the Baselga plan. Costs for the roof were initially slated at $54 million, according to a project announced in November. But there were concerns that actual costs could rise by at least 50%.

“The IOC said the investment was underestimated and not sustainable for the area and the IOC reserves the right to point the way in terms of executing the Games,” Giovanni Malagò, president of both the 2026 organizing committee and the Italian Olympic Committee, said in January.

The last Olympics to hold speed skating outdoors, where weather can affect ice conditions and therefore results, was the 1992 Albertville Games.

There had been calls from the start of Italy’s 2026 bid to hold speed skating at the existing indoor oval built for the 2006 Turin Games. Turin is 85 miles southwest of Milan, which is 200 miles southwest of Cortina.

Italy’s initial bid declaration in March 2018 was for a joint Milan-Turin candidate. Cortina was added within a week to make it a three-pronged bid. By September 2018, Turin dropped out after political infighting, when a senior Italian official declared the bid “dead.”

But the bid pressed on as Milano Cortina and beat a Swedish bid in the 2019 host election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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