The “School for the Mascots of Milano Cortina 2026” initiative, announced in June 2021 by the Italian Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, has reached its final stage. With an online poll closing on 28 February, fans have only a few days left to provide their input into the final design process.
This follows the launch of an online poll on 8 February during Italy’s famous Sanremo Music Festival. Since then, Milano Cortina 2026 has been asking the public to pick their favourite proposal from two shortlisted drawings that were selected from the nationwide school initiative. This information will inspire the final official mascots designs, which will be revealed at a later date.
Young students were encouraged to use their imagination and express their creative talents by submitting design proposals for two characters they felt would best represent the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Moving enthusiasm and engagement
The initiative has inspired substantial engagement, with over 1,600 design ideas received from nearly 700 classes across Italy. It was seen as an opportunity to encourage teachers and students in Italy to get involved in the Games and to promote the Olympic and Paralympic values inside and outside the classroom.
A committee of experts then helped decide on the shortlisted duo, and the public can now give their preference via the online poll that can be accessed through the Milano Cortina website.
These shortlisted designs are:
The stoats were drawn by students from Taverna, in the southern region of Calabria, while the flowers were created in a middle school in Segrate, near Milan.
Giovanni Malagò, President of the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee, has been “deeply moved” by the enthusiasm students have displayed towards the initiative, which has only strengthened the strong link between sport and education. He expressed his delight at the number of schools that engaged in the initiative and the positive impact it has subsequently had on communities across Italy.
“I’ve been absolutely thrilled to see so many imaginative and thoughtful design proposals come in from our young students, and the widespread engagement the project has provoked,” said Malagò. “Milano Cortina 2026 will make Italy fall in love with the Games, and the world fall in love with Italy. This initiative has only added to the shared excitement we all feel in the build-up to the Games, and we can’t wait to unveil our mascots.”
Extending the Games’ reach
Milano Cortina 2026 is committed to involving the public in the Games, with this initiative the latest in a series of activities developed to engage fans. Since the Organising Committee’s inception, the public have already played an important role in deciding the official emblem and song, making use of the nationwide platform provided by the Sanremo Music Festival.
With Milano Cortina 2026 not tied to a single host city – in line with Olympic Agenda 2020, Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the New Norm reforms – the School for the Mascots of Milano Cortina 2026 project is indicative of an increased effort to extend the Games’ reach and take inspiration from all areas of society, while sharing the values of Olympism.
Olympic mascots embody the spirit of the Games and promote the history and culture of the host cities. By influencing the final mascot design, young students from across Italy have played their part in creating a piece of Games history.
The Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 will take place from 6 until 22 February, and the Paralympic Games between 6 and 15 March.
For more information about the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, visit milanocortina2026.olympics.com.