Milan-Cortina board approves proposal to rebuild Cortina bobsled track but will keep open a 'Plan B'


ROME — The local organizing committee for the 2026 Winter Olympics decided Tuesday to move forward with rebuilding a century-old bobsled track in Cortina d’Ampezzo but will also keep open a “Plan B” in case the new venue is not ready by March 2025.

The committee said following a board meeting that its plans hinge on signing a contract with Parma-based construction company Impresa Pizzarotti & C., which has offered to rebuild the Cortina track for 81.6 million euros ($89 million).

If the contract for the sliding center is signed “it would confirm the original masterplan” for the Olympics, the Milan-Cortina committee said, adding that the new venue “would revive Cortina’s long tradition in these sports and help future generations.”

The announcement comes amid a standoff with the International Olympic Committee, which wants an existing foreign venue in neighboring Austria or Switzerland used instead to cut costs. But the Italian government does not want to finance a foreign venue.

“It is not acceptable for the bobsled races to take place outside Italy,” Deputy Premier Antonio Tajani said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “We will do everything to achieve the goal.”

Construction would start with less than two years to go before the Milan-Cortina Games — and less than a year before IOC-mandated test events. No sliding track has been built recently in such a short timeframe and test events have taken 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.

“Considering the negative views of the IOC and the international federations, which are concerned about the timeframe that the project would require, and considering advice from SIMICO (the company in charge of infrastructure for the games), the board has decided not to interrupt dialogue with other existing and functioning venues,” the local organizing committee said, adding that it has asked chairman Andrea Varnier “to continue negotiations for an eventual Plan B that would require added budget.”

The Milan-Cortina committee added that it realizes that “under no circumstances” can the new track be certified after March 2025.

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AP coverage of the Paris Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games



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