2026 Calgary Olympic bid still possible
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.”