Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the inauguration ceremony. GETTY IMAGES

Despite the twists and turns, Italy's sports ministers have ruled out hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina outside the host country.

The well-known problems arising in the organization of Milano-Cortina, from the lack of a suitable railway to tracks yet to be built, have been acknowledged. However, contradicting Giovanni Malago's statements, high-ranking politicians dismiss the possibility of holding events outside the country. It's worth recalling that the President of the Milano-Cortina Foundation had opened the door to other candidacies for specific sports, suggesting secondary venues by stating that luge, bobsleigh, and skeleton events would not take place in Italy.

This opened the doors to the candidacy of Austria and Switzerland, with their sites in Innsbruck and St. Moritz or to Germany through the German Bobsleigh and Sled Sports Federation, which aims to be the venue for its specialty. This interest was confirmed by BSD President Andreas Trautvetter to the German news agency last month.

Even the United States, despite the distance, put forward an interesting alternative in Lake Placid (New York) for the development of all sledding athletes, using the existing facility at Mount Van Hoevenberg and aligning it with the IOC's sustainability goals. This was confirmed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority to InsideTheGames, which also has significant support from multiple local federations.

In the end, it is unclear whether Malago's statement was a candid admission that they were unprepared and lacked the necessary political support for construction, or if it was made to explore alternatives due to the Italian government's inaction, or if it was done to wake up the politicians of the country.

Construction continues on the Anterselva Arena in South Tyrol. GETTY IMAGES
Construction continues on the Anterselva Arena in South Tyrol. GETTY IMAGES

What is certain is that this has sparked the interest of the Italian government in safeguarding honor or, at least, avoiding the dishonor of being the first country in Winter Olympic history unable to fully organize the games, something that has happened before in the Summer Olympics.

In response to this situation, the Italian political leadership clearly rejects outsourcing Milano-Cortina abroad beyond acknowledging the current problem. The solution cannot be outside Italy, say the politicians of the eighth-largest economy in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini, said, "The Milan-Cortina Olympics must be an Italian Olympics," committing to finding a solution, such as building a new bobsleigh track in Cortina. This solution from the Roman politician is criticized for the tight timelines remaining and the lack of an official project presentation. Naturally, Italian politics, as complex as few in the world, will try to provide a solution despite the skepticism of opponents and some members of the organizing committee.

At present, these are more expressions of intent than a concrete presented plan by the politician allied with the center-right Prime Minister, Ms. Giorgia Meloni. In line with Salvini, Sports Minister Andrea Abodi stated last weekend that the competitions will stay in Italy, saying, "We need to find a solution to a real problem." He expressed confidence that they would find an Italian solution.

Like Salvini, Abodi did not provide details on the proposed solution, though it is anticipated (and necessary) to be imminent. He urged patience until January, when the resolution with the necessary details would be unveiled, enabling the race against time for the required construction to commence.