2026 Games qualification systems, competition schedule approved by IOC

The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday approved the qualification systems for Alpine skiing, bobsleigh and skeleton of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina, as qualification mechanism for all sports are now finalized.

Meanwhile, the competition schedule by session for each sport has also been validated by the IOC Executive Board.

IOC President Thomas Bach speaks at the Executive Board committee meeting in Paris, France, November 29, 2023. /CFP

IOC President Thomas Bach speaks at the Executive Board committee meeting in Paris, France, November 29, 2023. /CFP

In line with the Olympic Charter, the details of these qualification pathways have been developed respectively by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) and the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), and reviewed and agreed on by representatives of National Olympic Committees (NOCs), in line with the Qualification System Principles (QSP) which secures athletes universal representation and equal access.

The Alpine skiing Olympic FIS points calculation has been revised in line with the FIS qualification events, and the eligibility criteria have been strengthened to ensure that the best athletes qualify for the Games. No major changes have been made to the other disciplines compared to the Beijing 2022 qualification systems.

Milan-Cortina 2026 will take place from February 6 to 22, 2026. A total of 2,900 athletes are expected to compete across eight sports, 16 disciplines and 116 medal events, as the Games are expected to be the most gender-balanced Winter Olympics ever, counting 47 percent of female participation.

IOC was joined by the 2026 Winter Games organizers, the International Federations, as well as the Olympic Broadcasting Services to finalize the details of the competition schedule based on a set of criteria including athlete experience, gender equality, weather considerations, broadcaster requests and access for the largest possible audience.

The IOC EB also heard updates about the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Gangwon and the next Summer YOG edition in Dakar in 2026, with 50 days to go before the opening ceremony of Gangwon 2024.

In addition, the IOC approved the event program principles for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028, with a focus on creating a compelling sports program while reducing cost and complexity.

(With input from Xinhua)

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