Milan-Cortina emphasises hopes for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 in Italy

Milan-Cortina emphasises hopes for the Olympic Winter Games 2026 in Italy

"In particular, I am really proud of this fantastic team that we created all together", said Giovanni Malagò, IOC Member and President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to choose between two European bidders to host the 2026 Winter Olympics when members convene Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The last time Italy hosted the Winter Olympics when Turin was home to the 2006 Games.

Still, a big plus for the Italian bid - uniting Milan, the Alpine ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, and several towns in between - was the IOC's own polling.

Swedish officials also attempted to lighten the mood with Stockholm major Anna Konig Jerlmyr bursting out some dance moves to the sound of Abba's mega-hit Dancing Queen at the end of her speech.

The prime ministers of both countries, Italy's Giuseppe Conte and Sweden's Stefan Lofven, had both come to Lausanne to make final pitches but with Lofven having to leave early to get to Sweden's game against Canada in Paris at the Women's World Cup, it was left to a member of his government to congratulate the winners but remind them that Sweden had beaten Italy in a play-off for Russian Federation 2018, so the score was now "1-1". Beijing remains the only city with that distinction, having hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and on track to host the 2022 Winter Games.

Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo was chosen over Stockholm-Are, Sweden's bid to host the 2026 games, according to the Associated Press.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte followed the Swedes with his pitch for Milan on Monday.

IOC President Thomas Bach said there was what he termed a clear gap in public support for hosting the Olympics between Italy and Sweden, a real concern given the billion-dollar-plus price tag for the event.

It was an attempt to revive Winter Games bidding with just two candidates on the ballot paper for a second straight time, since Russian Federation spent US$51-billion on venues and infrastructure for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Stockholm Åre bid Chief Richard Brisius reflected on the loss explaining "obviously I was looking for a different result".

Sweden, a winter sports powerhouse, hosted the summer Games in 1912 but has never staged the winter Olympics.

The bids for the 2026 games were 75 percent lower than the average budgets for the 2018 and 2022 candidates, the International Olympic Committee said.

Paris, France, will host the 2024 Summer Games, while the Olympics will return to the 2028, with the action centered around Los Angeles.

"This is the dream of an entire country, and not only the Government but also the regions".