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Organising Committee advances preparations as 1,000−days−to−go milestone approaches


11 May 2023 – The preparations for the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 have stepped up a gear, the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee told the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission during an online meeting this week. This is reflected in the growing excitement building in Italy, with celebrations for 1,000 days to go planned to kick off this weekend.

Some of the key highlights presented during the meetings included updates on Games planning, the venue masterplan, governance and commercial developments, projecting an optimistic outlook for Games preparations.

Speaking about the updates received, the IOC’s Coordination Commission Chair and Olympian, Sari Essayah, said: “With just under three years to go until the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, we are now entering an exciting and crucial phase. We take confidence from the fact that the Organising Committee now has a strong team in place, new commercial partners have been announced, and important decisions have been taken with regard to venues. The foundation work has progressed well and will allow for further acceleration of the preparations in the coming months.”

She continued: “Underpinning Milano Cortina 2026’s progress is its close collaboration with the Italian government, regional authorities and key stakeholders, including the IOC, International Paralympic Committee, International Federations and National Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Most of all though, it will be the Italian people who will ultimately make Milano Cortina 2026 an unforgettable event for the athletes, spectators and the world. The Organising Committee, with all its partners and stakeholders, must continue to focus on that, with initiatives such as the mascot design activities in schools, the education programme and all the youth engagement activities planned to celebrate the 1,000-days-to-go milestone.”

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Milano Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò added: “We are extremely grateful for the atmosphere of patience and competent cooperation that characterises our relationship, not only with this Commission but, in every instance, with the IOC, the IPC and the International Federations. We are very well aware of the challenges ahead of us, but I must say that I take a certain comfort in the closing report. This report clearly sets out our priorities and leads the way for our work in the future. Our new governance and organisation are set to guarantee rapid decision-making and efficient internal communication. I trust that the targets discussed in this Coordination Commission meeting will be achieved.”

Stakeholder engagement was a common theme throughout the Organising Committee’s updates to the Coordination Commission. One of the key contributors to the progress made in recent months has been the formation of the “Cabina di Regia”, a coordination group that provides active support from the Italian government and representatives from the host territories, strengthening their commitment to the Games.

From a governance perspective, with the aim of creating a more effective and efficient organisation focused on operations, Milano Cortina 2026 explained the recent streamlining of its Board, led by President Malagò. An overview of its recently established Athletes’ Commission was provided, along with details around the restructuring of its senior leadership team. This included reference to recent key staff appointments, such as Chief Games Operations Officer, Andrea Francisi. He will join Milano Cortina’s Chief Strategy, Planning and Legacy Officer, and Olympic champion, Diana Bianchedi, in supporting the new CEO, Andrea Varnier. They will lead a growing Organising Committee team based in their headquarters and the host territories.

One of the Organising Committee’s main projects in recent months has been the creation of its Games Plan. Developed jointly by the Organising Committee, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee, this plan outlines the key activities and milestones essential to the Games preparations. It also embeds the vision and priorities of the new structure, while mapping out key areas of focus.

In terms of commercial and budget updates, Milano Cortina 2026 outlined the appointment of five domestic partners since the start of the year, including its first Tier One Partner. It also explained that ongoing discussions are underway to secure additional domestic partners. In addition, the Organising Committee presented its balanced lifetime budget, which was recently approved by the Milano Cortina 2026 Executive Board, confirmed as the same figure, around EUR 1.5 billion, from the Candidature File.

Venues were another topic of discussion. This included an overview of the progress made towards finalising the overall venue masterplan, with a view to presenting it to the IOC Executive Board for approval within the next few months. An important update was the preference to use a temporary field of play in Milan for the Olympic speed skating competitions, with the Organising Committee working closely with the International Skating Union to finalise the technical aspects of the proposal. This follows the withdrawal of the Baselga di Pine Oval venue based on the feasibility assessment of its long-term legacy and sustainability – a decision welcomed by the IOC.

While many of the updates were forward-looking, the Organising Committee also took the opportunity to provide an update on the continued efforts being undertaken to engage the public. This included a summary of the Milano Cortina Gen26 education programme, which was recently rolled out to Italian schools to engage young people. Over the coming months, this programme aims to inspire young people and foster their interest in winter sports ahead of the Games in 2026.

The Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 will take place between 6 and 22 February, with the Paralympic Winter Games taking place from 6 until 15 March.

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