ROME (AP) — Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago will lead the organizing committee if the Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo bid wins next month’s vote to host the 2026 Winter Games.
Malago’s announcement on Tuesday came hours after a massive police operation in the Milan area resulted in 43 people being arrested — many of them public officials — for alleged corruption in assigning public construction projects to “Mafia-like” groups.
“If someone has made mistakes I don’t think it can affect the Olympic bid,” Lombardy president Attilio Fontana said.
Malago’s decision was made together with representatives of Milan, Cortina, and the two regions.
“The IOC wants a representative from the sports world,” Malago said, adding a business manager would take on the role of CEO.
While leading the organizing committee, Malago would remain president of CONI, with his current term ending in 2021. If re-elected, Malago could remain CONI president through 2025 and the body said he could also remain organizing committee head through the 2026 Olympics.
Malago was also recently elected as an IOC member, a position that will last at least through 2029.
With Stockholm-Are the only other remaining bid, the IOC will vote on the 2026 host on June 24 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Skiing great Alberto Tomba will attend the vote to promote the Italian bid. Also attending will be Olympic champions Sofia Goggia (downhill skiing) and Michela Moioli (snowboard cross).
Bid members will wear clothing designed by Giorgio Armani and theme music will be composed by Academy Award winner Ennio Morricone.
The Milan-Cortina candidacy takes full advantage of more flexible hosting rules provided by recent reforms from IOC President Thomas Bach.
The bid proposes to hold figure skating, ice hockey and short-track speedskating in Milan; sliding sports and curling in 1956 host Cortina; and speedskating, biathlon and Nordic sports in Trentino-Alto Adige.
Alpine skiing would be divided between Bormio (men) and Cortina (women), and only one venue would need to be built from scratch — an arena in Milan.
The opening ceremony would be at the 80,000-seat San Siro in Milan, with the closing at Verona Arena, a large Roman amphitheater.
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