Grab your red mittens people, because the Olympics could very well be on their way back to the great white north.
An announcement from the City of Calgary on Thursday, March 29, stated that the creation of a bid corporation for a potential Calgary 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been approved by both the Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta.
Calgary has been entertaining the idea of hosting the games as far back as 2014, and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) is expected to make a decision on 2026’s host city by the summer of 2019.
Calgary lost to Vancouver back in 1998 for the rights at a chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, though this time around Vancouver’s (well, Whistler’s) Olympic infrastructure could be packaged in with Calgary’s bid.
Calgary is currently in the dialogue stage of the 2026 candidate procedure, and whether or not the Olympic dream will stay alive in the city will be determined by if they are chosen to move into the next stage of candidacy in October 2018.
Until then, and with the support of the federal and provincial governments, Calgary will form a Olympic Bid Corporation to iron out the details of hosting the games, including an event budget, and extensive hosting plans.
Calgary last hosted the Games in 1988, and though it will have been nearly 40 years since those Winter Games, much of the Olympic infrastructure may be reused if Calgary ultimately wins the bid.
“This partnership is an exciting step towards determining if a bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is right for Calgary,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, in the release.
“We have a strong legacy of sport in this city and we know we can host a great Games, and now, alongside our partners in the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada, we can continue to figure out if a 2026 Bid is the best interests of our citizens.”
Chris Overholt, the CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), said in a release that he is excited about the news.
“We are very pleased to see this pledge of support from all three levels of government,” he said.
“Today is a very important step forward for the City of Calgary and for our collective efforts as we thoroughly assess the opportunity and impact of hosting an Olympic Games.”
Calgary may even have an upper-hand thanks to its status as a past host city, as the IOC’s recently created New Norm Report puts an emphasis on reducing costs by using existing infrastructure.