Cortina, Queen of the Dolomites, celebrates sixty-five years since the opening ceremony of its first Winter Olympic Games.
26th January 2021 marks the sixty-five years since the Opening Ceremony of the VII Winter Olympic Games back in 1956.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, known as the Queen of the Dolomites, had long been waiting for the event. The town was originally appointed to host the Olympics in 1944, but due to the Second World War, it had to wait twelve more years for the event that would change it for good and define it for the decades to come as a World class tourism destination.
Sixty-five years later, Cortina is ready for the World Ski Championships in just a matter of days and is preparing for its second Winter Olympics, which it will host in 2026 along with Milan.
At a time when the world is holding its breath, it gives hope to look at 2026, especially drawing a parallel with the past.
In 1956, Italy was in a phase of renaissance, experiencing an economic boom that gave the nation a sense of pride and optimism after the tough war years. The Olympic Games of Cortina, the first to be held in Italy, were seen as a symbol of the country’s rebirth from the ashes of the war.
Similarly, the 2026 Olympic Winter Games could become an event to showcase a rebirth after the challenging, demanding situation the whole World is currently enduring.
The VII Olympic Winter Games were memorable for a number of other reasons, linked not only to sports but also to the values of inclusion and understanding. For the first time in the history of the event, the Olympic oath was sworn by a woman, Giuliana Chenal Minuzzo. Also, Cortina marked the debut of Soviet athletes in the Olympics, with the USSR winning more medals than any other nations.
Sixty-five years after the 1956 Winter Olympics, Cortina proves it is still the ideal venue for the most important events in winter sports.
Photo credit: Archivio Stefano Zardini