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Calgary votes ‘no’ on 2026 Winter Olympic bid

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Calgary’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics is finished, the city’s mayor said, after 56 percent of Tuesday voters were against hosting the Games.

“I was hoping for a ‘yes’ vote tonight,” said Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, wearing a red Canadian Olympic team shirt late Tuesday. “This is very clear direction where we go from here.”

Nenshi said he anticipates the bid being officially suspended at a Monday city council meeting.

“It’s pretty clear that we saw a clear number,” he said of the 300,000-plus votes in a city of 767,734 eligible voters, though official results aren’t expected until Friday. “We saw a big voter turnout, and, for me, that means I ultimately take my direction from citizens.”

It will leave Stockholm and a joint Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan bid as finalists. IOC members will vote in June to decide the 2026 Winter Olympic host city.

Calgary, which held the 1988 Winter Olympics, is the fifth city to drop a 2026 bid this year, after those from Austria, Japan, Switzerland and Turkey fell off for varying reasons.

The road to the June vote has been rocky for both remaining bidders. Stockholm faced political opposition for the last two years and isn’t 100 percent to make it to the IOC members vote.

The Swedish plan has all but three medal events in Alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard in Åre (400 miles northwest of Stockholm), ski jumping and Nordic combined in Falun (140 miles northwest) and bobsled, skeleton and luge in Latvia.

The Italian bid has also been in flux, with 2006 Olympic host Torino dropping from the multi-city effort in September. Rome bids for the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympics were dropped due to lack of financial support and political concerns.

Calgary bowing out could boost the U.S.’ chances of getting the 2030 Winter Olympics, likely bidding with either Salt Lake City or Denver. North America has never hosted back-to-back Summer or Winter Games. Nenshi said he could not see Calgary trying for 2030.

Calgary’s city council nearly ended the 2026 bid in April and in October. In recent weeks, Canadian Olympic legends like Donovan Bailey and Hayley Wickenheiser and even infamous Calgary 1988 last-place ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards rallied to drum up support for the public vote.

A Canadian city has not reached the final voting phase 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.

“The opportunity to welcome the world to Canada, where people can experience the uniting power of the Games and within our nation’s culture of peace and inclusion, would have offered countless benefits to all,” the Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement. “This would have been a unique opportunity for Canadians to be leaders in fulfilling the promise of a renewed vision for the Games.”

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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