To Bid or Not To Bid? Update on the 2026 Winter OIympics
Many of our Ward 9 neighbours have been asking our office about Calgary's potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, particularity with Council's decision on Monday, November 20th to increase the bid exploration budget by $1 million.
As it stands, I am undecided on where I land with the 2026 Olympic Bid for Calgary. Ultimately, I believe that the Olympics need Calgary more than Calgary needs the Olympics.
Calgarians have been divided around the idea of hosting another Olympic Games. On the one hand, those who oppose Calgary putting forward a bid for 2026 believe that the Olympics have become a deeply corrupt organization that costs a tremendous amount of money with little return for the host city. On the other hand, many reflect on the success of the 1988 Winter Games and the spirit of volunteerism and pride that showcased our incredible city in this stunning part of the world.
The fate of the Olympics as an organization is unknown. If it continues on its current path it may cease to exist entirely. However, if the IOC goes down a path of reform, Calgary may have a real opportunity to show the world (once again) our amazing city, which is built on the principles of good governance, and the incredible people that live here all while renewing our Olympic legacy. It may also bring significant economic development and infrastructure opportunities to this entire region and continue to develop Calgary as a centre of sports excellence.
Can we get there?
That is what City Council and the Olympic Bid Committee are working to figure out right now.
The original budget for the Olympic Bid Committee was $5 million. After the report was complete there was $1.5 million left over. Council agreed on Monday, November 20th to allow for another $2 million for further research into a potential bid for 2026. Only $1 million will be given at this time.