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Embracing the Italian spirit: Milano Cortina 2026 to celebrate two years to go with Olympic−themed activities

International Olympic Committee

02 February 2024 – On 6 February 2024,  Milano Cortina 2026 will celebrate two years to go to the opening of its Olympic Winter Games, encouraging people across Italy to actively take part in sporting and cultural activities that will help shape the next edition of the Winter Games.

In the coming days, a series of initiatives and events will unfold as part of an engagement programme being rolled out, including Italy’s first ever “Winter Games Week”, educational initiatives and a new cultural exhibition.

Engaging the nation’s youth

The GEN26 Education Programme, created by the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee, has developed a series of initiatives aimed at creating deeper connections between Italian young people and the Olympic and Paralympic values.

As part of the GEN26 initiative, and to mark two years to go, a “Winter Games Week” will be held between 5 and 9 February. Jointly developed by the Organising Committee and the Italian Ministry of Education, and supported by Italy’s National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, the programme will offer young people the opportunity to participate in activities that emphasise the educational principles of sport, particularly its role in encouraging growth and expression, and interactions with athletes.

All Italian regions are actively involved in the “Winter Games Week” through schools and youth groups at all levels. With more than 700 entities already subscribed to the programme, this initiative is expected to reach over 220,000 young people throughout the week.

The GEN26 nationwide education programme seeks to foster inclusivity and healthy development among approximately eight million Italian young people through a wide range of educational projects and activities. To date, 440,000 young people from all over Italy, including youth groups and schools, have been involved in the programme, across all 20 Italian regions.

Another project within this education programme was the involvement of young students in the design of the official Milano Cortina 2026 mascot. Nearly 700 classes from primary and secondary schools across Italy contributed more than 1,600 design ideas. The selected mascots are set to be revealed shortly.–milano-cortina-2026-to-celebrate-two-years-to-go-with-olympic-themed-a%2Fs%2F38a4f75c-7493-484c-b02c-7d26fab63d1d%3Futm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3DInternational%2520Olympic%25#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2243%2C%22ls%22%3A1792%2C%22le%22%3A2239%7D

Culture and heritage

Cultural initiatives will also engage local communities. Milano Cortina 2026’s new vision to showcase the “New Italian Spirit” will be infused throughout its Cultural Programme, which kicked off at the beginning of 2024. Aiming to promote the Olympic and Paralympic values, a calendar of artistic and cultural activities have been planned across the country on the road to 2026, culminating in exciting activations during the Games.

On 6 February, exactly two years before the start of the Milano Cortina 2026 Games, a new winter sports themed exhibition will open in the Gallerie di Trento – a history museum located in one of the host regions of the Games.

The first of three immersive exhibitions in a three-year “Interconnecting Rings” project, “Records” will tell the story of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games through the evolution of the sport disciplines. The exhibition was created in collaboration with Milano Cortina 2026 and with the support of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Recognising the power of visual storytelling, a display of the Olympic rings and the Paralympic Agitos symbol will also be revealed in the centre of Milan on 6 February, in addition to a “Two Years To Dream” poster. The campaign will tell the story of the enthusiasm, warmth and energy that modern Italy embodies, while highlighting the benefits of getting involved in the Games over the next two years.

Creating stronger communities

Together with the Italian National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, Milano Cortina 2026 is aiming to increase accessibility to sport among communities across Italy. Last month, applications opened for “Italia dei Giochi”, a new programme inviting public bodies, sports organisations, registered charities and non-profits to organise sporting activities or events that celebrate the Games and the Olympic and Paralympic values in their local area.

Building the foundations for the Games

Involving the territories also means using their expertise. In this context, the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee recently announced key partnerships with four locally based Event Delivery Entities – the Antholz Anterselva Biathlon World Cup Committee, the Val di Fiemme Nordic Ski Committee, the Bormio Foundation and the Cortina Foundation.

The experience of these organisations gained from regularly organising world-class sporting events will be crucial to delivering many of the Olympic and Paralympic events in 2026. In signing these agreements, Milano Cortina 2026 is embracing one of the core recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 – to reduce cost and complexity by making the best use of existing capabilities in the host communities.

Speaking about this, Milano Cortina 2026 Chief Executive Officer Andrea Varnier said: “The signing of the framework agreements represents a further and significant step in the path towards the realisation of the Milano Cortina 2026 Games.”

Andrea Varnier, Milano Cortina 2026 Chief Executive Officer


The Milano Cortina 2026 organisers will be sharing all of their activities across their digital channels over the coming days. You can follow them here:

The next edition of the Olympic Winter Games will run from 6 to 22 February. The Paralympic Winter Games will then be held between 6 and 15 March in 2026.

Milano Cortina 2026’s two-years-to-go milestone comes shortly after the Olympic Movement celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Olympic Winter Games.


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