IOC: there will be no compromise if 2026 Olympics track is not ready by March 2025

VENICE, Italy (AP) — The International Olympic Committee reiterated that the bobsled track for the Milan-Cortina Games has to be ready by March 2025 and that there will be no “compromise.”

Italy is going ahead with a controversial, $90 million plan to rebuild the historic track in Cortina for the 2026 Winter Olympics, despite fierce opposition from the IOC.

Aiming to avoid construction costs and potential white elephant venues, the IOC wanted Italy to use an existing track — with two nearby options in St. Moritz, Switzerland and Igls, Austria. But, as well as an issue of national pride, the Italian government did not want to finance a foreign venue.

“First, a consideration regarding what the IOC can or the IOC can not do,” Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said at a news conference in Venice on Friday, at the end of a three-day visit by the IOC’s Coordination Commission.

“We have expressed a wish. And in the end, the reality is that today there is a construction site which is in Cortina.”

Work finally started on the century-old track this week, less than a year before IOC-mandated test events. No sliding track has been built recently in such a short timeframe and organizers are continuing negotiations for an eventual Plan B in a neighboring country.

Dubi said the track has to be ready by March 2025 in order to guarantee the safety of the athletes. Test events took on even greater importance following the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a training crash hours before the start of the opening ceremony for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

“On this we can’t compromise,” Dubi added. “It is coming from the international federations. So we have to go by their experience and their expertise no matter what, these are the conditions they have established.”

Dubi highlighted, however, that Italy has a long history of hosting international winter sports events, such as World Cup skiing on slopes in Cortina and Bormio that are slated to hold Olympic events.

He stressed that this gave Milan-Cortina organizers an advantage compared to the two previous editions of the Games, in China and South Korea.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. This is very tight,” Dubi said. “Is it complicated? One in particular. Yes, this is complicated. The rest of the venues are constructions of villages and … a multipurpose hall, that is not that complex.

“We implore that … each day is respected because these timelines are tight. That we are very clear, but it’s not complex. And when it comes to Games organization, you are miles ahead compared to any of the previous organizing committees.”


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