Winter sports

The old railway in Cortina, including the functional building (pictured here), has now been demolished. © Photo Hermann Sobe / Hermann Sobe Media Service HS

U-turn: German officials for railways in Cortina

Contrary to speculation for months, the Olympic ice track could now be built in Cortina for 2026. This is apparently causing a rethink in Germany too.

Thomas Schwab would like to see the Olympic medals in bobsleigh, luge and skeleton awarded in Italy next year. “It would be unique in the Olympics for a race to be removed from the Olympic program and take place somewhere else. “We would then no longer be a real part of the Olympic Games,” said the chairman of the German Bobsleigh and Sled Sports Association (BSD).

The decision on the venue for the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton competitions of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy is imminent. The organizers of Milan-Cortina have not yet presented an ice track in which the competitions will take place, not least due to the high costs. “I’m pretty excited about the decision from Italy,” said Schwab (61).

Decision in a few days

Most recently, the procurement commission in Italy gave the green light for the construction of the new bobsleigh and toboggan run in Cortina. The costs amount to 81 million euros. However, if the races are not held in Italy, it would be the first time in the 102-year history of the Winter Olympics that competitions took place outside the host country. The favorites to host the event are St. Moritz in Switzerland and Innsbruck-Igls in Austria, and the German association has also announced its willingness to step in as hosts.

In Italy, the Cortina railway is the favorite; the probably even more expensive renovation of the route used for the 2011 Turin Games in Cesana, which has been closed since 2006, is another option. Going abroad was ruled out by the Italian Sports Minister in mid-December. For Cortina's mayor Gianluca Lorenzi, the decision has already been made: "Cortina will be the sliding host in 2026."

Renovating the railway in Cesana seems too expensive. © ANSA / Jessica Pasqualon / Z24

South Tyrol's former toboggan star Armin Zöggeler believes that the Italian bobsleigh, luge and skeleton teams would save a lot of money if a track were built in Cortina. “It requires a lot of effort, constantly traveling and staying in hotels for training, testing and racing,” said the two-time Olympic champion.

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