Thousands of youngsters helped celebrate the 1,000-day milestone to Milan Cortina 2026 ©Milan Cortina 2026

Thousands of youngsters came together to celebrate the 1,000-day countdown to 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Events were held across the areas that are set to host competition during Milan Cortina 2026 that has been billed as the most widespread Winter Olympics of all time.

More than 10,000 youngsters gathered at the Arena-Brera in Milan for the grand final of the "Trofei di Milano 2023".

The interschool event combining education, culture and sport forms part of Milan Cortina 2026’' mission to engage Italian youth in sport in the build-up to the Games.

More than 600 young people in Cortina d'Ampezzo wore Milano Cortina 2026 t-shirts to mark the 1,000-day milestone, while 1,000 from Bormio and Livigno gathered to form the number 1,000 against the backdrop of the Valtellina mountains.

Bormio, which is due to host Alpine skiing and ski mountaineering events during the Games, also staged a "Mini Olympics" for youngsters.

Italian Nordic combined skiers Alessandro Pittin and Iacopo Bortolas met high school students to discuss their Olympic experiences and the countdown to the Games during an event in Val di Fiemme where the ski jumping, Nordic combined and cross-country skiing competitions are due to be held.

Milano Cortina 2026 also marked the occasion with a series of posts on social media featuring 100 popular quotes from songs, books and films on the theme of 1,000 days.

"1,000 days until the 2026 Games is an exciting moment," said Milano Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò.

"From the beginning of the adventure, Milano Cortina 2026 wanted to embrace territories and people, to make the Games the project of the whole of Italy.

"The goal is to allow everyone to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic adventure and to enhance and accelerate projects around sport."

Milan Cortina 2026 chief executive Andrea Varnier added: "Staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a great challenge, but I am convinced that Italy has all the credentials to organise a unique edition.

"Let's bring the Winter Games back to their natural cradle, the Alps, directly and actively involving all territories, starting from the youngest.

"The concept of a widespread Olympics is one of the strengths of Milano Cortina 2026, and the enthusiasm of the next generation will be fundamental as we approach 2026."

The Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held from February 6 to 22, followed by the Winter Paralympics from March 6 to 15.