(ATR) A potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics is still alive.
Calgary's ski jumping venue (Wikimedia Commons)
The Calgary City Council voted 9-4 on Monday to approve a measure that authorizes spending CAN$1 million (US$780,600) between now and the end of the year to properly prepare for a possible bid under the new IOC timelines introduced in September.
The Calgary city administration had asked for double that but the city council voted to approve the additional CAN$1 million only if the province of Alberta and the Canadian federal government come on board and commit to sharing the cost for a bid committee. The cost for a bid committee is estimated to be between CAN$25 and CAN$30 million (US$19.5 million and US$23.4 million).
The administration had recommended that if the council refused to approve the additional funding, the effort to pursue a second Winter Games for Calgary should be ended immediately. Instead, the effort will continue into at least January. As part of the vote on Monday, the council approved a measure that calls for the city administration to return to the council should the provincial and federal governments fail to come on board by the end of the year.
The additional funds are in addition to the US$940,000 still remaining from the budget of the shuttered Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC).
The CBEC concluded in July that a 2026 bid was feasible but may not be prudent, citing financial concerns.
The City Council at that point directed the city administration not to move forward until five key principles involving the costs and financing of hosting the Games were satisfied.
Monday’s decision means Calgary avoided becoming the second city to drop out of the 2026 race in the past five weeks. A bid by Innsbruck was shot down by a referendum on October 15.
Sion, Switzerland is currently the only city that has officially begun the process to host in 2026. A bid by Stockholm remains a possibility but the Swedish Olympic Committee has so far failed to convince the city’s government that it’s a good idea.
The United States Olympic Committee says it is open to the idea of hosting either in 2026 or 2030, with Reno-Tahoe, Denver and Salt Lake City all showing interest.
The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) gave formal approval last week for the 1972 Winter Games host city to try and land a second Olympics. IOC President Thomas Bach has made it clear he would like the Winter Olympics to return to a “traditional” venue in Europe, North America or Asia. But with PyeongChang and Beijing hosting the next two Winter Games, a third straight Asian host probably isn't the IOC's first choice for 2026.
Written by Gerard Farek
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