City Life Org – Milano Cortina 2026 poised to become the most gender-balanced Winter Olympics in history
Image © Milano Cortina 2026
The sports and events program of the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 will include a record number of women’s events and will be the most gender-balanced edition of the Olympic Winter Games to date, with 47% participation. female participation. The program was approved by the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) based on the recommendations of the Olympic Program Commission (OPC), which evaluated the proposals from the International Federations (IFs).
Eight new events have been added to the schedule, with a strong focus on gender equality in terms of events and female athlete quotas. This approach is in line with the goal of reducing the cost and complexity of hosting the Olympic Winter Games by using existing venues and meeting the overall athlete quota of 2,900.
“We have made significant progress in closing the gender gap at the Olympic Winter Games,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “We’re going from 40% female participation at Sochi 2014 to 47% at Milano Cortina. We are committed to continuing to advance gender equality, and Milano Cortina will be another key step in this endeavour.
Schedule of Events and Athlete Quota
The changes introduced for Milano Cortina concern four sports:
- Ski mountaineering (a new Olympic sport for these Games)
- Inclusion of three new events: men’s sprint, women’s sprint and mixed relay
- Biathlon: no change
- Inclusion of a mixed team skeleton event
- Curling: no change
- Ice hockey: no change
- Inclusion of a women’s doubles event
- Replacement of an open doubles event by a men’s doubles event
- Skating: no change
- Inclusion of three new events: Men’s Freestyle Skiing Parallel Moguls, Women’s Freestyle Skiing Parallel Moguls and Women’s Individual Large Hill Ski Jumping
- Deletion of an event: Alpine parallel by mixed teams.
The IOC EB, following the recommendation of the OPC, has decided to provisionally include the men’s and women’s alpine combined events, and these will be subject to further review. This will give the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) more time to finalize its proposed competition format and to gather feedback from relevant stakeholders, including the FIS Athletes Commission. A final decision on the alpine combined events is expected no later than April 2023.
Five of the seven Olympic Winter IFs had submitted a request to change the program for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Some 23 new events were proposed and an additional athlete quota of 359 (113 men/246 women) was announced. been asked. The IOC EB finally agreed to include eight new events, delete one event and replace one event. The overall athlete quota was set at exactly 2,900, eight more than the number of athletes who competed in Beijing.
The EC also discussed the status and challenges of Nordic combined in terms of international representation, particularly outside Europe, during the last three editions of the Olympic Winter Games. This is evidenced by the fact that, in the last three editions, the 27 medals available in Nordic combined have been won by athletes from only four NOCs. In addition, Nordic Combined had by far the lowest audience numbers during these Games.
This very worrying situation gave rise to an in-depth discussion, both by the OPC and by the CE. The decisive argument for keeping Nordic combined on the Olympic program of Milan Cortina 2026 was the situation of male athletes, for whom the Olympic Games are only three and a half years away and who have already been preparing for these Games for many years. years. This does not apply to the women’s category as it has only had one world championship so far, with athletes from only 10 national federations participating. The inclusion of Nordic Combined in the Olympic Winter Games 2030 depends on a significant positive development, especially in terms of participation and viewership.
The complete program and quotas are available here.
A painstaking process led by Olympic Agenda 2020+5
Thanks to the possibility introduced by Olympic Agenda 2020, the Organizing Committee of Milano Cortina 2026 proposed the inclusion of ski mountaineering as an additional sport. The proposal was unanimously approved by the IOC Session in 2021.
The Olympic Winter Games Milan Cortina 2026 Event Program and Athlete Quota Framework reflects the Olympic Charter, Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the following key program principles established by the IOC EB on 10 June 2021 on the recommendation of the OPC:
- Maintain the overall athlete quota (including for any new sport) of 2,900
- Achieve equal participation in the Olympic Winter Games at the level of events and disciplines where possible;
- Prioritize new events that welcome athletes within the sport’s existing quota allocation; and
- Allow new events only if they do not require additional venues for the Games.
The International Olympic Committee is an international non-governmental, non-profit, civil organization of volunteers committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes over 90% of its revenue to the wider sports movement, which means that every day the equivalent of US$4.2 million is donated to help athletes and sports organizations at all levels in the world.
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