Calgary 2026 Olympic bid faces crucial vote

Calgary Saddledome
AP
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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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