Sustainability and legacy at the core of Milano Cortina 2026
The first International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission meeting with Milano Cortina 2026 was held virtually today, 29 September 2020. The local Organising Committee updated the Commission members on its considerable progress since winning the right to host the Olympic Winter Games last year and its desire to deliver sustainable Games with a strong legacy in the spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm.
IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the members of the Commission, which is chaired by Sari Essayah. They were joined by Milano Cortina 2026 and Italian National Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malagò and Milano Cortina 2026 CEO Vincenzo Novari. The Commission heard from representatives of the Organising Committee founders, including the President of the Italian Paralympic Committee, Luca Pancalli; Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala; Mayor of Cortina Gianpietro Ghedina; and President of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana; while an address was also delivered on behalf of the President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia. The representative of the Italian Government, Valerio Toniolo; the President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Arno Kompatscher; and the President of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Maurizio Fugatti, also addressed the Commission.
Speaking after the meeting, Essayah said: “Milano Cortina 2026 has made considerable progress despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. The integration of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm into the project, particularly around the use of existing venues, will provide a sustainable legacy for both international sport and local communities within Italy. We are only at the beginning of our journey and, while there are still many key decisions to be taken, I hope that these Games will be held up as an example for future Olympic Winter Games.”
She continued: “The Olympic Movement is unified in supporting the Organising Committee to realise its ambition to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave behind a legacy for generations of Italians to enjoy. The solid foundations that Milano Cortina 2026 has built are testament to the cooperation and collaboration of the Olympic and local stakeholders which shows that we truly are stronger together.”
Following this, Milano Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò said: “I am delighted to welcome IOC President Thomas Bach and the Milano Cortina 2026 Coordination Commission, brilliantly chaired by Sari Essayah. I am deeply grateful for their words and the continual support they provide towards our efforts. This was our first meeting, albeit virtual, after being awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at the IOC Session. Along with the staff headed by Vincenzo Novari, during these difficult months we have been working to shape the Organising Committee and these Italian Games through an innovative and sustainable approach. We are aware of the many important challenges yet to come, but we are ready to face them as a team, with the IOC and the Milano Cortina 2026 stakeholders, in order to deliver an unforgettable edition of the Games.”
One of the major milestones praised by the Coordination Commission was the adoption, by the Italian Parliament, of an Olympic Law which dictates the organisation and governance of Milano Cortina 2026.
The Commission also heard about the development of Milano Cortina 2026 staffing, with over 50 employees now working for the organisation, many of whom hold existing expertise in winter sports events. This topic gave the Organising Committee an opportunity to detail its planned staffing model, which will see the core Organising Committee team consist of around 600 people, with four decentralised departments established to focus on Governance, Games Delivery, Digital and Revenues.
In addition, the development of Milano Cortina 2026’s Games vision was covered. This underpins its strategy right up until Games time, revolving around its desire to “Make all Italians fall in love with the Games and winter sports, and the world to fall in love with Italy”.
The Commission heard that a fundamental component of the local Organising Committee’s strategy is sustainability, in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability. Milano Cortina 2026 explained that its Games will represent a stimulus for its economy, working towards creating new opportunities and long-term employment.
Milano Cortina 2026’s legacy plans were also detailed as it looks to leave future generations with arenas, mobility infrastructure and assets for tourism that are all financially sustainable. The Organising Committee is focused on increasing inclusion, spreading the Olympic values across the country, promoting healthy lifestyles thanks to the practice of sport, and providing the territories with stronger major events management expertise.
Another key topic was the venue masterplan. On this point, the IOC Coordination Commission highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Working Group, established by the IOC Executive Board earlier this year. This group, which is looking into the sustainability and legacy of the sliding centre and the speedskating oval, consists of the Organising Committee, the local authorities and the International Federations concerned. Its work builds on the concerns raised about those two venues by the Evaluation Commission last year.