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Lake Placid still in running for 2026 sliding bid

From left, FIL Secretary General Dwight Bell, FIL President Einars Fogelis, IBSF President Ivo Ferriani and IBSF Secretary General Heike Groesswang pose following a joint meeting between the FIL and IBSF at the Olympic Conference Center on Sunday in Lake Placid. (Provided photo — FIL/Margit Denglar-Paar)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid-New York state bid to host the sliding competitions for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games at Milano-Cortina, Italy is still in the running, according to state Olympic Regional Development Authority Director of Communications Darcy Norfolk.

Lake Placid’s bid is one of just three other potential host sites, which also include St. Moritz, Switzerland and Igls/Innbruck, Austria, sited as a “Plan B” option if the century-old sliding track in Cortina d’Ampezzo is not completed by March 2025.

The Milan-Cortina Organizing Committee recently asked the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to provide additional information to its “Plan B” solution for the Lake Placid-New York sliding bid, according to Norfolk.

While Norfolk said she wasn’t able to release the updated bid yet, because she wasn’t able to verify if the Milan-Cortina Organizing committee had reviewed the second bid, she noted that it contains more information and details.

“The athletes village and transportation, scheduling from one location to another and how that would look,” she said on Monday. “As well as preliminary budget information.”

The original bid, which was released in December 2023, provides different concepts that have some similarities to the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games.

ORDA’s Olympic Jumping Complex and Olympic Sports Complex General Manager Rebecca Dayton said the biggest thing working against Lake Placid’s bid is geography.

“The two other tracks we’re competing against are close to Milan-Cortina, but they both have their challenges as well,” she said on Sunday. “We think we have put together a pretty aggressive campaign and plan to balance out that travel issue with charter flights.

“Now, we’ll wait and see what they decide,” Dayton added. “But I think we’ve done a lot of good work and we’ve talked to a lot of people, and people now as we get closer to a deciding point people pay more attention to those details and hopefully we’ll do well.”

Dayton hopes that the 2026 Olympic sliding events will be in Cortina. If the bid were to be selected it would be the first in Winter Olympic history to have events held outside the host nation.

“We all want them to have a track because that’s what is best for the health of the sport,” she said. “If that can’t happen, we’d like to be considered because we think we do a good job. We think we can do a good job in this case and we have a lot of experience from what we learned from FISU. We’re well set up. It’s exciting to be one of the final three and be considered.”

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation president and chair of Winter Sports of the International Olympic Committee, Ivo Ferriani, said he feels confident that the Italian organizing committee for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan-Cortina will deliver the track on time.

“Of course the timing is very tight,” Ferriani said on Sunday. “The company is working very hard. Today we are confident.”

The Milan-Cortina Organizing committee officially signed a contract on Feb. 2 with Parma-based construction company Impresa Pizzarotti & C. to build the track rebuild a century-old bobsled track in Cortina d’Ampezzo, which closed in 2008.

As of May 29, the first corner of the track, which is about 15 meters in length, was completed. The sliding track at the Cortina Sliding Center will have 16 curves and a length of 1,400 meters with a height difference of 107 meters. Ferriani expects the construction to accelerate.

“They will understand how to do it quickly and after the first corner they will do the other corners much faster,” he said. “At the moment we have a Plan A, and we’ll see in the future. We have to always be positive and I’m sure the Italian government will give all their best to deliver the track on time.”

Normunds Kotans, representative of the Organizing Committee for Milano-Cortina 2026, provided an update on the status of construction work on the sliding track in Cortina on the second day of the 72nd International Luge Federation (FIL) Congress in Lake Placid Saturday.

“The construction of the Olympic track in Cortina is progressing. So far, significant progress has been made,” Kotans said in a statement.

According to the FIL, he explained the Olympic track and pointed out three tunnels and track sections such as “Labirinto” in the middle section and the historically well-known curves “Antelao” and “Cristallo” in the lower part of the track.

“We want to ensure that the Olympic Games take place in Cortina and will complete our luge track in time,” Kotans said.

The FIL Track Construction Commission will meet again on June 26. The goal is for the FIL and IBSF to officially approve the the track in the spring of 2025, followed by an international training week in the fall of 2025.

“I’ll be there in June 26 and we’ll check again,” Ferriani said. “Believe me, we won’t give up. We will check every month what’s happened there. We’ll see, but again we’re confident.”

In each of the past four Olympic Winter Games, sliding tracks have been built specifically for the Games. All four took years of preparation and no sliding track has been built recently in such a short timeframe.

The Cortina sliding track will likely require test events. Test events have become a higher priority task following the death of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training crash hours before the start of the opening ceremony for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

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