Calgary's Olympic Committee recommends cancelling 2026 bid

Oct 30 2018, 3:10 pm

Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid looks dead in the water.

A 9:30 am meeting of the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee ended with the committee moving forward the proposal that City Council cancel the bid when they convene on Wednesday.

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This changing of Olympic hearts comes after what Mayor Naheed Nenshi called “inaccurate leaks” prior to the committee meeting, which reportedly asserted that the federal government announced that it would be put forward a maximum of $1.5 billion (in 2018 dollars) towards the Olympics if Calgary were to win the bid — leaving an $800 million bill at the City of Calgary’s feet.

Neither the Province of Alberta nor the International Olympic Committee would pony up any more than what they had initially offered$700 million and $1.2 billion, respectively — and with the plebiscite looming on November 13, Calgary’s councillors are facing a tough decision on Wednesday.

The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee met behind closed doors for just over four hours before returning to the council chambers with a recommendation that will end up in front of the full council in their next meeting.

Councillor Evan Woolley was the one who ultimately put forward the recommendations to ultimately call off the bid and the city-wide plebiscite that is scheduled for November 13.

“We do not have acceptable funding agreements in place with other levels of government,” Woolley said.

If Calgary were to officially pull out of the running following Wednesday’s meeting of a council, that would leave just Stockholm, Sweden and a three-way bid from Italy’s Turin, Milan, and Cortina d’Ampezzo left as possible hosts for the 2026 Winter Games.

Wednesday’s meeting of council starts at 9:30 am.