Italy mull bid for hosting 2026 Winter Olympics despite political turmoil, withdrawal from race for 2024 Summer Games

Milan: Italy are considering a push to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, two years after Rome's mayor scuppered the city's bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

In 2016, mayor Virginia Raggi's anti-establishment Five Star Movement killed off the Italian capital's bid to host a first Summer Olympics since 1960.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

But M5S party founder Beppe Grillo, a former stand-up comedian, has since done a U-turn and believes "the Olympic Games are a great occasion for Turin and for the Movement".

"We will prove we can have zero debts and (host) in a sustainable way," said Grillo.

Turin's M5S mayor Chiara Appendino wants the northern Italian city to issue a "manifestation of interest" to the International Olympic Committee.

Meanwhile, the president of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, of the right-wing Lega Nord party, has put forward the hypothesis of a candidacy of the Dolomites. Milan is also being considered.

"There is a beautiful fight for positions," said Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago.

"Suddenly everything is back in fashion. Perhaps because of the success of Pyeongchang, and not only the sporting success."

Italy was plunged into uncertainty after the 4 March elections resulted in a hung parliament with no group in a position to govern alone. The M5S became Italy's leading single party with 32.7 percent of the vote.

Malago said that any decision would depend on the future government.

"For a bid three legs are needed: the local authority, the government and the Italian Olympic committee," said Malago.

"In this case there is already the availability of the local authority and Coni, but we must listen to the new executive: when there's a government," he added.

"It is not the mayor who writes to the IOC to express the will of the city to apply, but the president of Coni."

Italy has twice hosted the Winter Olympics -- Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomites in 1956 and Turin in 2006.

Sion in Switzerland has already announced it intends to bid, with Turkey also considering throwing its hat in the ring, along with Innsbruck in Austria, Calgary in Canada, Stockholm and the Japanese city of Sapporo.

Almaty in Kazakhstan is another possible candidate.

Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Games, after hosting the Summer Games in 2008.

Paris won the right to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2018 11:29:01 IST

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