The Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo have been selected as the next hosts of the 2026 Winter Olympics after the IOC made its formal announcement on Monday.

The Italian bid earned 47 votes from the International Olympic Committee’s members to win the right to host the Games, beating rivals Stockholm, who garnered 34 votes.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini hailed the winning bid, saying: “Italy, the future and sport have won.

“Thanks to those who believed in it right away, especially in the Municipalities and Regions, and a pity for those who gave up.”

“There will be at least five billion (euros) in added value, 20,000 jobs, as well as many new roads and sports facilities. With the Winter Olympics we will confirm our excellence and our skills to the world.”

Read more:   Russia's Alrosa to unveil new collection of gems after the Dynasty diamond success

Milan and Stockholm battled through the bidding process as four other bids, from Sion (Switzerland), Sapporo (Japan), Graz (Austria) and Calgary (Canada) all dropped out of the running due to concerns over the cost of hosting the event. (RT)