The New York State Olympic Regional Developmental Authority has proposed that the sliding events of bobsled, luge and skeleton for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games be held in Lake Placid, New York, as a solution to the long-running drama in Italy.
“Our commitment to managing, marketing, maintaining, and providing top-notch facilities for training and competitions have made Mt Van Hoevenberg the ideal site to host the sliding sports of bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge,” ORDA said on Friday in a statement, adding its proposal includes having “a Celebration Center in Rockefeller Center, where athletes will be the center of attention on many levels… and then can jet off to Milan to continue to be a part of the host city festivities and Closing Ceremonies.”
Sarah Hirshland, chief executive officer of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, first revealed the proposal during a media teleconference on Thursday at the end of the USOPC Board of Directors meetings that were held in Stamford, Connecticut, home of NBC.
“(ORDA’s) expertise and dedication have really made them an ideal candidate to host the sliding sports of bobsled, skeleton and luge,” Hirshland said. “… It’s a vibrant winter sports communities combined with New York’s Italian heritage and the synergy between Lake Placid, New York City and Milan-Cortina makes this kind of an unforgettable and culturally rich location for sliding sports. The USOPC stands firmly behind this bid effort and believes that their proposal presents a compelling solution to host an extraordinary Olympic and Paralympic experience.”
Hirshland said the ORDA proposal was due to Italian organizers on December 1, having been asked for any proposals roughly a month before then.
“Should they be engaged in that conversation and push forward with the concept of hosting, then we will play a role in facilitating, as we would do with a lot of international competitions,” Hirshland said. “At this stage our role is simply to help them present a proposal, to endorse that proposal and ensure that we have the broad support required from the municipalities, as well as from the athlete and NGB community”
Lake Placid is one of two sliding tracks in the United States with the other being in Park City, Utah, which is the proposed venue for sliding events in the 2034 Olympic Winter Games.
“We support Milan-Cortina’s efforts to explore options for hosting sliding sports for the 2026 Games,” said Fraser Bullock, president and chief executive officer for the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. “However, we believe our efforts in Utah need to be focused on 2034 and wish them the best in finding options that allow for a successful hosting of Bobsled, Skeleton, and Luge events.”
Lake Placid underwent extensive renovations at all its winter sports venues over the past few years as part of preparations to host the 2023 World University Winter Games. The village will host the 2025 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation World Championships, its 11th time hosting the event overall. It is about to host the opening race weekend for the 2023-2024 International Luge Federation World Cup.
Agence France-Presse reported later Thursday that the 2026 Milan-Cortina organizers have also reached out to the National Olympic Committees of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
While the International Olympic Committee seems to have moved on, Italian Olympic organizers still hope to renovate an existing venue that would host ice sliding events such as bobsled, luge and skeleton at the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.
Italy’s sports minister is “more than confident” the events will take place in Cortina d’Ampezzo even after organizers said in October that bobsled, luge and skeleton events were set to be raced in Austria or Switzerland.
“We’ll look at it in the next few days with (finance minister Giancarlo) Giorgetti and we’ll unravel the knots, I’m more than confident,” Minister for Sport Andrea Abodi said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Opened in 1923 and used for the 1956 Olympic Winter Games, the Eugenio Monti Sliding Centre track has been closed since 2008 due to a shortage of funding for the necessary renovation work. The tracks in Igls, Austria, and St. Moritz, Switzerland, are likely to be the only two seriously considered for the 2026 Games. Moments after the October acknowledgement by local organizers, IOC member Karl Stoss of Austria made clear that his country “would be more than happy” to be the sliding host in 2026.
While initial costs for rebuilding the track in Cortina had risen to $160 million, a scaled back plan could cost half that. A plan to renovate another mothballed track in Cesana, which was used for the 2006 Games in Turin, was also discussed Wednesday despite the IOC shutting down that idea last month.
“There will be economic and technical evaluations and we will give the organizing committee clear directions — in accordance with the IOC,” Abodi said, later adding “they are the owners of the Games, we’re the temporary managers so we have to respect the IOC’s rules, which we know. The IOC has always shown that they also understand our worries and problems.”
The uncertainty of multiple sports’ location and its financial issues have been a topic for a long time in planning for 2026. Organizers in August said women’s ice hockey would be at the Fiera Milano Rho after renovation costs doubled. The Fiera Milano Rho will need temporary seating to increase the capacity of 6,500 for ice hockey. The venue will also host speed skating venue rather than the 2006 Olympic oval in Turin after plans to renovate that facility were deemed overly expensive.