This was a bid race won in the shadows.
Whatever else Agenda 2020 and the New Norm - the Wenlock and Mandeville of Olympic cost-cutting - may have achieved they have largely taken the Olympic bidding process out of the public eye.
The two contenders - Stockholm Åre and Milan Cortina - were given few opportunities compared with prior bid races to present their proposals to the general public and their proxies the media, or even to rank-and-file International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who comprise the electorate.
One upshot of this, as I cruised the usual IOC watering-holes in Lausanne over the past 24 hours was that you could almost smell the desperation of the squadrons of bid team representatives to get their message across.
Another was that even fewer vote-holders than usual seemed prepared to run the gauntlet or poke their heads above the parapet.
Effective Olympic lobbying used to be all about subtlety, the discreet placing of the right words in the right ears.
Actually, I suspect effective lobbying still is - which is one of the reasons Milan Cortina 2026 won.
The sense I got from the Swedish bid team was that they were desperate to say/do the right thing, without always being able to grasp what "the right thing" might be, or indeed to fathom why the contest appeared to be slipping away from them.
It must have dawned on them that they were fighting an uphill battle by around the second week of May, otherwise why take on the services of JTA, the pre-eminent bid consultants so late in the day?
The punchiness of Swedish IOC member Gunilla Lindberg’s closing question in Stockholm Åre’s final presentation - "Is the IOC ready for the New Norm, or is it just talk?" - also struck me as the type of tactic you deploy when trying to come from behind.
Milan Cortina appeared to me to embrace the slippery, more micromanaged new realities of Olympic bidding in a more sophisticated way.
Yes, you could still scent a whiff of desperation as those lobbying on the Italian bid’s behalf pursued their quarry.
But usually you could also catch sight of the commanding, business-like presence of Giovanni Malagò, President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), visibly directing his troops in battle, like a tall, skinnier Wellington in a suit.
I observed Malagò a lot during these final days and, while appearances can be deceptive, he always appeared to know exactly what he was doing.
Sixty-years-old now, he had to wait a long time before securing his place in sport’s most prestigious club.
But the corollary of that is that he has huge experience of this idiosyncratic and, once again, increasingly covert world.
Over the years, he has been involved, usually as President, in a long list of organising committees for major volleyball, basketball and swimming events, but also for the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari marque.
He came well prepared for this his latest task - and from what I have seen over recent days, Milan Cortina’s victory was above all his.
While the race was probably run by then, even the touches he brought to today’s public proceedings were telling, never missing a chance to intervene in order to highlight a perceived strength of the Italian bid.
He may even have attracted a last-minute vote or two by having the wit to introduce Milan Cortina’s final presentation team in Spanish.
Of course, there is a bigger picture, and if what I read about Italy’s rising debt levels is on the money or anything like it, winning the bid may turn out to be the easy part, and we might be set for another of those seven-year Olympic roller-coaster rides.
But in the narrow context of this tepid, largely private race, the Italians plainly read the tea-leaves better.
For the Swedes, it was a case of much misapplied energy and too little too late.