Mayors of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo will receive the Olympic flag at Beijing closing ceremonies

The Mayors of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Giuseppe Sala, and Gian Pietro Gedina will officially receive the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The handover ceremony of the Olympic flag is a tradition between the outgoing and upcoming Olympic cities. However, this is the first time two host cities have been a part of the closing processional.

The theme of the handover performance by Milan-born pop singer Malika Ajane and Italian violinist Giovanni Andrea Zanon, is one of “Doubleness, Together” showcasing the “the duality of city and mountain” between the two Italian cites for the upcoming 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games.

“The basic principle is that Italy is beautiful, natural and unique, but we also need to talk about the future and technology,” said director-general of the closing ceremony Michael Balich.

“Yes. Both the city of Milan, fashion, design, which is a vibrant city, and the Dolomites, one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. This duality, city and mountain, is what Milan and the Cortina Winter Olympics need to show.”

This is the first time the Olympic flag will be handed to Cortina d’Ampezzo since the 1952 handover in Oslo. Several competitions will return to the very same venues which hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics.

FILE PHOTO: Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malago, Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Cortina Gianpietro Ghedina and IOC President Thomas Bach pose after Milano and Cortina won the bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games during the 134th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), at the SwissTech Convention Centre, in Lausanne, Switzerland June 24, 2019. Philippe Lopez/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo (POOL/)

Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who saw his city transform in hosting the 2015 World Expo, knows how an event like the Olympics can fundamentally change a city’s image.

“Four years from now, the world will change, so we’re going to do something to keep up with the times.”

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