Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Lake Placid’s offer for bobsledding in Cortina is the backup plan to Saint Moritz –

The atmosphere at the Cortina track, which will host the bobsled, luge, and skeleton events of the 2026 Winter Games, did not even calm down on the day of the long-awaited contract signing. The Milano-Cortina Foundation will ratify the agreement in a few hours. Pizzarotti has hired 90 specialized Norwegian workers, who are working 7 days a week to build a track that no one (neither Chinese nor Russians) has ever finished in less than 880 days: it’s a challenging task. No one has ever succeeded.

There’s the “indecent” offer from Lake Placid: everything for free at the expense of sponsors, awards ceremonies at the Rockfeller Center in New York, but it would be a disgrace. The controversies contributing to the mounting polemics include the morning intervention of Minister Giorgetti at the Chamber of Commerce of Sondrio, where he expressed his concerns about the track and infrastructure: “The Olympics will arrive in 2026, and then they will not come back – he said – and I am starting to regret having promoted them.” In the afternoon, Giorgetti corrected his statement: “It was a joke to stimulate the stakeholders: if you look at the dates, time is running out. But the signing of the contract is good news.”

The opposition was unleashed. Former Mayor of Rome Raggi finds the “spectacle shameful: the track will only be ready after the Games and the races may be held in Switzerland.” Mauro Berruto, sports coordinator of the Democratic Party, believes that “the words of regret for having obtained the Olympics are an admission of the government’s incompetence and inadequacy.” Alberto Cirio, the governor of the Piedmont region that had offered the Cesana facility with moderate recovery costs, expressed his disappointed resignation: “Our proposal was made when Cortina was no longer available.

No one has stolen the Olympics from us, someone here did not want to have them.” The reaction of the IOC was icy, stating in a press release that it has “strong concerns about the delivery by March 2025,” reiterating that “the new project does not include any sustainable use or legacy for the future while there are functioning facilities outside of Italy suitable for the purpose.” The cost? Zero thanks to the American sponsors, against the at least 10/15 million expenses for rentals in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.

While the economic temptation is strong (if you go abroad, there are no public funds), the disgrace of competing six time zones away from Italy with the Cortina facility left halfway would be global and indelible.

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