The Winter Olympics could return to Calgary.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has named seven cities that have expressed interest in hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2026:
Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Turin, Italy
Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, in which Canada finished 13th overall (0 gold medals). Vancouver, of course, hosted the most recent Winter Olympics on Canadian soil in 2010. Canada fared much better eight years ago, taking home 14 golds to finish atop the medal count.
The IOC recently released a report that aims to help cities host Olympic Games that cost less, produce less waste, reduce complexity, and minimize risk. This puts Calgary in a good position to remain in the running as some of the infrastructure from the 1988 Games can be updated for the city’s 2026 bid. The effort will be funded by the provincial and federal government, each committing $10 million.
“Our goal is not just to have a record number of candidates but, ultimately, it is to select the best city to stage the best Olympic Winter Games for the best athletes of the world,” said IOC president Thomas Bach in a statement.
There could be a catch, however. Support from Calgary City Hall is modest – councillors voted 8-6 in favour of a $2.5-million cash injection for the city’s Olympic bid. One of the councillors who voted in favour, Diane Colley-Urquhart, has recently reconsidered her support.
“I’m getting more concerned as this thing moves forward, with the strings attached to the money and imposing on the municipality … I’m open to a reconsideration motion given the untenable situation we’ve been put in,” she said. The “strings” she’s referring to are a provincial caveat that makes the funding dependent on a plebiscite (public referendum) for support of the Games.
The winning bid will be selected this September at a ceremony in Milan (hopefully that’s just a coincidence).