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All About the 2026 Winter Olympics in the Historic and Stunning Milano Cortina

After Paris, France hosts the Summer Games in July, the 2026 Winter Games will remain in Europe with host nation Italy taking up the reins.

By Andrew Woodin

Though America’s superstar athletes such as LeBron James and Simone Biles have yet to light up the stage at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, it’s never too early to take a peek at the sibling of the legendary Summer Games — the Winter Olympics.

In rotation every four years with a two-year gap between them and the Summer Games, the Winter Games are the epicenter for the best cold-weather sports and the spectacular athletes who compete in them. After an epic outing in Beijing, China, the next Winter Olympiad is set for Italy in 2026.

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When are the Winter Games?

The next iteration of the Winter Games will commence on February 6, 2024, according to the Games' website. Featuring 116 events, the 2026 Winter Olympics will conclude on February 22 after 16 days of spectacular competition. Starting on March 6, the Paralympic Winter Games will take place over nine days, ending on March 15, per USA Today.

The logo of Milano Cortina Winter Olympic games 2026

Where are the 2026 Winter Olympics?

In what will be Italy’s fourth time hosting the cold weather Olympiad, the 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, which was also the site of the 1956 Winter Games. The other times Italy hosted were during the 2006 Winter Games in Turin and the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. According to USA Today, the Italian venues beat out a bid of Stockholm-Are from Sweden that also proposed a bobsled track in Latvia.

"I'm really emotional," revealed Italian Olympic president Giovanni Malago at the winner's news conference in June of this year. "It's a very important result, not only for me but the whole country."

According to the map of the Games, some events will be occur outside the host cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo at venues in Livigno, Predazzo, Anterselva/Antholz, Bormio, Tesero, and Verona, which will be the site of the closing ceremony.

Which sports will be in the Winter Games?

With an eye toward increasing gender equality, the 2026 Winter Games will feature eight new events across 16 sports. According to the Team USA website, the International Olympic Committee created the sports program in 2022 for the 2026 Milano and Cortina Olympics to include ski mountaineering, a unique alpine sport that will make its Olympic debut in Italy’s Dolomite moutains. The new concentration will showcase athletes’ talents across three events: men’s sprint, women’s sprint, and mixed relay.

In addition to those, the 2026 Winter Games will also include men’s and women’s dual moguls, mixed team skeleton, women’s doubles luge, and women’s large hill ski jumping. Here is a full list of sports appearing at the 2026 Winter Olympics:

  • Cross-country skiing
  • Ice hockey
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Short track speed skating
  • Figure skating
  • Snowboard
  • Alpine skiing
  • Bobsleigh
  • Skeleton
  • Luge
  • Ski jumping
  • Curling
  • Biathlon
  • Speed skating
  • Nordic combined
  • Ski mountaineering

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Isabeau Levito ice skates during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Beijing

What is Milano Cortino known for?

The two Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo couldn’t be more different. Hailed as the “Gateway to Europe and the World” on the 2026 Winter Games site, the bustling city of Milan is an international business, manufacturing, and financial epicenter, bolstered by a rich culture of food, fashion, music, and art.

Possessing the second largest population after Rome with 1.352 million residents, Milan is the wealthiest and most expensive city in Italy to live in. As the fashion capital of the world, Fashion Week in Europe’s City that Never Sleeps is no trifling manner, driving throngs of industry experts and tastemakers to flock to the Italian city twice a year. Founded in 600 BC, Milan famously managed to escape the plague and remains the home the largest number of works by Leonardo da Vinci, who resided in Milan when he was commissioned to paint The Last Supper during his 17 years in the city, per the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program (ITAMCAP) website.

In comparison, Cortina d'Ampezzo is a high-end ski resort in the scenic Dolomites. At an elevation of just over 4,000 feet, the town of nearly 6,000 residents is nestled snugly next to Tofano di Mezzo, a towering peak that stands at 10,600 feet. With endless access to skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports — 87 miles of ski slopes to be exact — tourism clearly dominates the area with the accompaniment of expensive hotels, shops, clubs, and restaurants peppering the alpine streets. When the snow melts, Cortina d'Ampezzo is home to some of the most coveted hiking trails in Europe along with spectacular mountain biking, horseback riding, climbing, and golf courses.

History buffs will appreciate the area as it possesses an extensive outdoor WWI museum that showcases the three different sites where pivotal battles took place. In 1956, due to WWII, the Winter Games occurred there instead of in 1944, and the area has hosted numerous Nordic and Alpine World Championships over the last century.

Until then, be sure to catch all the Olympic action this summer. 

Be sure to watch live coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 26, on NBC and Peacock beginning at 12 p.m. ET. Telemundo will provide Spanish-language coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Primetime coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and Peacock.

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