White smoke. The final decision has finally been made: the speed skating rink for the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics will be in the Fiera di Rho. After the resignation of the thirty Baselga di Pinè, the Milan pole has won over the Piedmontese competition. Yes, because the Piedmont Region and the Municipality of Turin had proposed using the Turin Oval at the Lingotto, protagonist of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Nothing to do. The Milano-Cortina Foundation writes in a note: “After careful analyses, considering the characteristics of the two solutions proposed and the reflections that emerged in the last Control Room held last week in Rome, the Board of Directors of the Organizing Committee expressed its unanimity in favor of the Fiera Rho project in Milan”. Unanimously. So the Minister of Infrastructure, Matteo Salvini, a supporter of the Piedmontese solution, finally took a step back. “The Milanese proposal entirely financed by private capital – continues the note – has highlighted, in addition to the advantage of territorial continuity with the other competition sites in the ice world, with the exception of curling, a significant and greater concreteness combined with a reduction of operating costs”.
The track in the Rho Fair it will cost around 20 million euros. The project involves the unification of pavilions 13 and 15 in a single space for a total of over 35,000 square meters of covered area capable of hosting the 400-metre speed track, a grandstand with around 6,500 seats, as well as a training rink, changing rooms and further structures necessary for the organization: an air conditioning and humidity control system capable of guaranteeing the most suitable conditions for maintaining the frozen surfaces according to the requirements of the International Skating Federation (30-40% humidity and 15 degrees at ice level).
Enrico Pazzali, president of the Fiera Milano Foundation, comments: “We are proud to be able to contribute to the creation of an extraordinary global event and at the same time to strengthen our commitment to the development of Fiera Milano which will see, thanks to this investment, the creation of new business opportunity”. Finally, the Lombard governor Attilio Fontana observes: “The teamwork and organizational capacity of a team that has made cohesion and competence its winning weapons have been rewarded”.