The Olympic bobsleigh competitions are due to be held in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 2026 – but where on earth is there a bobsleigh track?
The northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto will host the 2026 Winter Olympics. But you have a “ritardo,” or delay — for example when a bobsleigh track is built.
There is a bobsleigh track just a few kilometers from the border in St. Moritz. But Italian national pride stands in the way of such a solution.
When it comes to national pride, League leader Matteo Salvini is always one of the first to headline. For Salvini and many of his followers, the Games must be 100% Italian. Driving a bob or sled in the Engadine in Switzerland is not possible.
81 million euros for the bobsleigh track
Why not? St. Moritz has a traditional bobsleigh track made of natural ice, and has hosted the Olympic Games twice: in 1928 and 1948. It is located only a few kilometers from the Italian border. The rent will definitely be several times cheaper than the new building in Cortina.
But there is this pride. It's pushing Italy to invest €81 million in a new bobsleigh track – an ice track that probably won't be needed soon. Like the track Torino built for its games in 2006 and was allowed to fall into disrepair a few years later.
Two years of construction is very sporty
Romanian newspaper La Repubblica wrote that there was a risk that Italy would pay for the bobsled track twice. A new building in Cortina will not be completed on time due to severe time pressure. Then the rent in St. Moritz for the second time, which was due at the last minute.
At the 2020 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese speedsters took more than two years to build their ice track. In fairly complex Italy, this is supposed to happen within just twelve months.
Now the Italian government has awarded this contract, which no one initially wanted to do, to a company at the last minute – something that goes against the wishes of the International Olympic Committee. It has spoken out in favor of a cheaper and more sustainable solution in neighboring Swiss countries.
The Olympic Village is also still missing
Cortina is not the only construction site. This is how the Olympic Village in Milan will be built – on wasteland in the south of the city where there used to be a staging arena.
But two years before the athletes moved in, weeds were still growing on much of this wasteland. After all, buildings are being built there which will be used later and which will enhance the entire city area.
As for Cortina, what is known in Italy as a “cathedral in the desert” will likely be built. A large building with no other use.
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