Here’s to wondering why the 2026 Winter Olympic Games went to Italy rather than Sweden.
The process is similar to how FIFA decides which country will host World Cups…
The 2026 Games will take place across different venues around Milan and the northern Italian ski resort known as Cortina d’Ampezzo.
The Italian Alps are already there, so nothing new need be built and the Winter Games have been held there in 1956 and in Torino in 2006.
Italy as the venue poses some harsh economic questions as the Italian economy is floundering in debt and the European Union grows weary of pumping money into a country where, for the most part, it seems like very little gets done.
The final vote was between Italy and Sweden and Sweden was late to the lobbying effort.
The mayor of Stockholm resorted to singing to the Olympic voters with lyrics to a song from Abba.
That tactic would have resulted in two thumbs down if used on us, while we fervently wished for extra thumbs.
The Olympics has lowered its standards, which is not to be critical of Sweden or Italy, both of which are great places, but in the past, financial guarantees were extracted from host nations, along with support from the respective governments.
It is an expensive proposition, hosting an Olympics. Russia spent over $50 billion on venues and infrastructure for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
The Italian Undersecretary of State, Giancarlo Giorgetti, a name far more lyrical than anything Abba ever produced, made the case that some regions of Italy were in fact quite prosperous.
“We have budget problems in Italy, but I think that this is something that everyone has. “They (provinces Lombardy and Veneto) are two of the richest provinces in Europe,” Giorgetti said. “They certainly have the capacity, they have the readiness, they have the finances in order to be able to support the event.”
Seven years is a long time to depend on anything in Italy.
Governments come and go at an alarming pace in Italy, which is either good or bad, depending on one’s perspective.
At least there can be some degree of confidence of there being snow in the Italian Alps during the winter. The 2022 Winter Games hosted by Beijing might be an entirely different situation.