Calgary 2026 Olympic bid faces crucial vote

Calgary Saddledome
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The future of Calgary’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid will be determined by a city council vote early next week.

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said the bid was “a bit in the ditch” on Tuesday, according to Canadian media.

“The question is, is it worth pulling it out of the ditch or not, and I think it is,” Nenshi said, according to the Canadian Press. “It’s not a good time to take the off-ramp. Give us until June to see the money, and then we can take the off-ramp if the money doesn’t work.

“I think it would be a real shame for council to not to try to pull this thing out of the ditch between now and June.”

The city council voted 8-6 on March 21 to fund bid exploration ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s end-of-March deadline for cities to declare interest in bidding.

Council members voted 9-1 on Tuesday to hold a vote early next week, according to reports.

“I get the impression that people are changing their minds, members on council are changing their minds, and I’m not sure there is majority support to go forward,” said council member Druh Farrell, who put forward the motion for next week’s vote, according to the Calgary Herald.

“Unless there’s a lot of lobbying and arm-twisting and leg-twisting that goes on in the next four or five days, I think this [Olympic bid] is dead,” council member Diane Colley-Urquhart said, according to the newspaper.

Calgary is one of seven sites pursuing 2026 Olympic bids through a dialogue phase with the IOC. The others: Graz, Austria; Milan/Torino/Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; Stockholm, Sweden; Sion, Switzerland and Erzurum, Turkey.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Games that included the first Jamaican bobsled team and the Battle of the Brians and the Battle of the Carmens in figure skating.

If the Calgary bid happens, it could see Nordic combined and ski jumping at the Vancouver 2010 venue in Whistler, B.C., more than 500 miles west of Calgary.

If Calgary gets the 2026 Winter Games, it could hurt a potential 2030 U.S. bid from Denver, Reno-Tahoe or Salt Lake City since the IOC has never awarded back-to-back Summer or Winter Games to North America (though a Summer Games in North America has been followed by a Winter Games in North America in 1976/1980 and 1984/1988.)

Canada has not bid for an Olympics since hosting the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Toronto dropped a 2024 Summer Olympic bid. Quebec City showed 2026 bid interest last year before dropping out as well.

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MORE: A look at the 7 potential 2026 Olympic bids

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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Sifan Hassan sets marathon debut

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Sifan Hassan, who won 5000m and 10,000m gold and 1500m bronze at the Tokyo Olympics in an unprecedented triple, will make her 26.2-mile debut at the London Marathon on April 23.

Hassan, a 30-year-old Dutchwoman, said she will return to the track after the race, but how the London Marathon goes will play into whether she bids for the Olympic marathon in 2024.

“I want to see what I can do on the marathon distance, to make future decisions,” she posted on social media. “We’ll see if I will finish the distance or if the distance will finish me.”

Exhausted by her Olympic feat, Hassan reportedly went at least seven months after the Tokyo Games between training in track spikes. She finished fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5000m at last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“I really needed a break after the Tokyo Olympics,” Hassan said at worlds. “I was mentally crashed. I didn’t even care about running.”

London, billed as the best women’s marathon field in history, also boasts Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia and the two fastest Americans in history, Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato.

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