The 2026 Cortina Winter Olympics Organizers Have Some Major Problems To Solve

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The Milan arena may not be ready for the Games and sliding events may end up in a different country.

The 2026 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy is just 25 months away and there are questions about the Cortina organizers’ ability to host some events. The National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman wants to know what is going on with the construction of an arena in Milan that would house the hockey tournament. “Not insignificantly, they have a lot of work to do,” Bettman said. “I don’t think they’ve actually begun construction on it, which is a matter of some concern. We know it’s important to the players to go and we want to make it happen. We’re going to be as flexible as we can, but at some point, we’ve got to do a schedule for that season.” But delays in getting the Milan building up and running is not the only problem that the organizers have in Italy.

Bobsled, skeleton and luge events will not be held in Italy, at least that is the word from the organizers, because the plan to rebuild a 100-year-old track that was used for the 1956 Winter Olympics that was shuttered 15 years ago would have cost more than 50 million dollars to reconstruct and that was deemed too expensive. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee is making a push to land the events making available facilities in Lake Placid, New York to use as part of the 2026 Winter Olympics. Austria and Switzerland business and political leaders are also making a pitch to land the events in their countries. Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Matteo Salvini, said that the sliding events should take place in Italy. The International Olympic Committee is ready to relocate the sliding events and the NHL may not send players to Milan and may offer a North American arena alternative. Cortina 2026 is off to a bad start.

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)