2026 Milano Cortina Winter Olympics new sports finalized originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
August 11, 2024 is not as far away as you think.
The 2024 Paris Summer Olympics are less than 800 days out, though we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Olympics.
In preparation for the Games and the qualification periods prior to the Games, the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, held a press conference on Friday afternoon in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss the two upcoming international events.
IOC spokesperson Mark Adams spearheaded the event, which mainly touched upon the IOC’s plan for Milano Cortina’s gender diversity, new sports and new athlete quotas, as well as their plan for boxing in Paris.
Karl Stoss, chair of the Olympic Programme Commission, explained, “Milano Cortina will include a record number of women's events and be the most gender-balanced Olympic Winter Games to date, with 47% female participation compared to 45.4% in Beijing.”
In a presentation, Stoss also ran through Milano Cortina’s 2026 program principles. “This framework is intended to accommodate new events, existing venues, [and act as a] master plan to reduce the cost and complexity of the Winter Olympic Games,” said Stoss.
What does the IOC intend for the 2026 Winter Games?
The IOC plans to:
- Maintain the overall athlete quota (including for all new sports) at 2,900
- Achieve gender-equal participation across the Olympic Games at event and discipline levels when possible
- Prioritize new events that accommodate athletes within the sport’s existing quota allocation
- Add new events only if they do not require additional Games venues
What sport changes will we see in the 2026 Winter Games?
Changes for the 2026 Winter Games will affect four sports, including Ski Mountaineering, Bobsleigh, Luge and Skiing.
These changes include:
- It will consist of three new events: men’s sprint, women’s sprint, mixed relay
- It is the first new sport at a Winter Olympic Games since 1998
- 36 athletes will compete (18 men, 18 women)
- A skeleton mixed team event will be added
- 10 athlete spots will be reallocated from men’s events to women’s events
- Women’s doubles will be added
- 12 athlete spots will be reallocated from men’s events to women’s events
- There will be three new events: freestyle skiing, men’s dual moguls; freestyle skiing, women’s dual moguls; ski jumping, women’s large hill individual
- Alpine skiing, mixed team parallel will be cut
- There will be 24 fewer spots in total across all skiing events
- The IOC will make a final decision about whether to include the alpine combined events by April 2023. Skiing’s governing body, FIS, is currently finalizing its proposal for the competition format going forward.
What can we expect for Nordic combined in the 2026 Games and beyond?
Nordic combined, which is only represented by 10 national federations, will remain the only event that is only contested by men. The IOC felt it would be unfair to the men who are already training to remove the event at this point, but that Nordic combined must make significant progress in order to be considered for the 2030 Games. Despite its growth over the last decade, women's Nordic combined has only held one world championship so far, which is not enough international competition to be added as an Olympic sport.
The IOC hopes to achieve a record women’s participation for Milano Cortina 2026, as well as a record number of women’s events: 50 compared to 46 women’s events in Beijing 2022. The committee’s announcements today also intend to increase overall gender balance in three sports, including ski jumping, luge and bobsleigh.
The full IOC press release can be viewed here.
What is the verdict on boxing for the 2024 Paris Games?
IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell also spoke about the future of boxing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, which has been under contention for quite some time due to allegations of corrupt judging.
“In the interest of the athletes and of the boxing community, the executive board of the IOC today decided that the boxing qualifying events and the competitions at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 will not be run under the authority of the IBA,” said McConnell. “This decision is centered around the athletes themselves. It follows the continuing and very concerning issues that continue to go on in the IBA.”
Whether boxing will be included in Los Angeles 2028 will be discussed at a later date.
As for right now, the IOC plans to “put in place more tentative models to give more certainty to athletes on their qualification pathway that will not be IBA run.”
The full IOC press release can be reviewed here.