STOCK­HOLM LIKELY TO DROP OUT

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Don Braid’s col­umn ap­pears reg­u­larly in the Her­ald. dbraid@post­media.com Twit­ter: @DonBraid

Stock­holm’s bid to host the 2026 Olympics is at risk only three days af­ter the IOC for­mally ap­proved the city among three can­di­dates.

A new coali­tion deal an­nounced Fri­day to run Stock­holm’s city gov­ern­ment — be­tween a cen­tre-right al­liance and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists — re­quires no tax­payer fund­ing for a Win­ter Games.

“The start­ing point for all our par­ties has been to en­sure that a Win­ter Olympics should not be on the tax­pay­ers to pay for it,” coali­tion mem­ber Karin Ern­lund said.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee said Fri­day it had “not yet had any of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion of

The start­ing point for all our par­ties has been to en­sure that a Win­ter Olympics should not be on the tax­pay­ers to pay for it.

the de­ci­sion.”

If Stock­holm drops out, the IOC will be left with Cal­gary and the com­bined Ital­ian bid of Mi­lan and Cortina d’Am­pezzo.

A vote of IOC mem­bers is sched­uled in June, the Olympic body said Tues­day when for­mal­iz­ing the 2026 con­test, though there is un­cer­tainty for the en­tire field.

Cal­gary’s bid faces a Nov. 13 plebiscite, and full gov­ern­ment sup­port is also not guar­an­teed in Italy.

Amid wide­spread pub­lic con­cern at Olympic host­ing costs, IOC vi­cepres­i­dent Juan An­to­nio Sa­ma­ranch Jr. said this week, “We have to make a huge ef­fort in ex­plain­ing our­selves bet­ter.”

Stock­holm could re­turn for a bid for 2030 or beyond, city law­mak­ers said.

“It is miss­ing a clear ba­sis for a Win­ter Olympics right now,” said Anna Konig Jerlmyr of Swe­den’s Mod­er­ate party, “but ev­ery­one wants to have it in the fu­ture so the ques­tion is when.” im­me­di­ately saves about $100 mil­lion in Olympic spend­ing, be­cause a new venue wouldn’t be needed.

Fri­day’s provin­cial fund­ing in­for­ma­tion was ex­pected by Oct. 13, to give Cal­gar­i­ans time to con­sider this data be­fore the vote on Nov. 13.

But the fed­eral gov­ern­ment never agreed to that timetable. Cal­gar­i­ans aren’t likely to see that num­ber un­til much closer to the plebiscite.

There’s re­ally not much mys­tery about Ot­tawa’s cur­rent po­si­tion. Fed­eral con­tri­bu­tion is fixed by pol­icy — dollar for dollar, or to put it an­other way, 50 per cent of the to­tal pub­lic fund­ing.

The province isn’t likely to mod­ify its con­tri­bu­tion. The Not­ley NDP has a very strong po­lit­i­cal mo­tive for look­ing as fru­gal as pos­si­ble. But it also can’t seem to be killing the bid.

In the end, Cal­gary’s chal­lenge may be to stage the best Games, ever, for the least money spent in mod­ern times.

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