2026 Cal­gary Olympic bid still pos­si­ble

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS - DONNA SPENCER

Cal­gary has pulled back from killing a bid for the 2026 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games.

City coun­cil was steer­ing to­ward an off-ramp last week, but changed course and voted 9-6 in favour of con­tin­ued work on a po­ten­tial bid Mon­day.

“I’m re­ally happy that coun­cil­lors ... re­ally spent a ton of time over the week­end con­sid­er­ing their po­si­tion, an­a­lyz­ing them­selves, ask­ing them­selves ques­tions about whether they were do­ing the right thing or not,” Cal­gary mayor Na­heed Nen­shi said.

“I was re­ally en­cour­ag­ing my coun­cil col­leagues to think about the big pic­ture, about what we’d be giv­ing up if we stop now.”

The city will con­tinue es­tab­lish­ing a bid cor­po­ra­tion, de­vel­op­ing a pub­lic en­gage­ment cam­paign and plan­ning a plebiscite for later this year.

The pro­posed makeup of the bid cor­po­ra­tion’s board of di­rec­tors in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tion from Cal­gary and Can­more, Alta., the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments, the Cana­dian Olympic and Par­a­lympic com­mit­tees and Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.

Nen­shi didn’t want the city to bail on a bid be­fore the fi­nan­cial pic­ture be­comes clear or be­fore Cal­gar­i­ans have a chance to say what they think.

Sens­ing a bid was in jeop­ardy, Olympic and Par­a­lympic ath­letes who live and train in the Cal­gary area be­gan cam­paign­ing via let­ters and so­cial me­dia mes­sages to coun­cil­lors.

Cal­gary ’s cham­ber of com­merce joined them, say­ing Cal­gar­i­ans de­serve to see the out­come of more rig­or­ous ex­plo­ration of a bid.

“We’re happy we’ve lived to fight an­other day, al­though coun­cil has brought up some re­ally im­por­tant com­ments,” Olympic bob­sled­der Seyi Smith said Mon­day. “The onus is re­ally on us, the com­mu­nity, to make sure we do this prop­erly.”

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