The International Olympic Committee's decision was met with cheers of "Italia! Italia!" on Monday, and for an obvious reason: Stockholm-Åre lost out on the chance to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, with the honor going to Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo. That means two decades will have elapsed since Italy last served as host, during the 2006 Turin games. Cortina played host once before, in 1956. The Washington Post reports the two hyphenated options reflect a move away from saddling a single city with the hosting burden, especially in light of the massive price tag that accompanies the Games. (Indeed, the BBC reports cities in Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Canada pulled themselves out of the running due in part to the event's cost).
Milan will serve as home to all skating and ice hockey events, while most alpine skiing will be in Cortina. The Italian Alps will host other snow-sport competitions. Sweden has never been awarded the Winter Games, per the Local; it hosted the Summer Games in Stockholm in 1912. The AP reports it is Sweden's eighth failed bid over the past 41 years and indicates Italy's higher levels of enthusiasm, as recorded by IOC polling, may have played a part in the 47-34 vote. The Post notes it may not be smooth sailing from here, as Italy's debt load is second only to that of Greece in Europe. Italian officials brushed aside economic concerns by noting the northern part of the country that will host the Games has solid infrastructure in terms of transportation and is better off financially. (Read more Olympics stories.)