Decision day for Calgary’s Olympic bid

Jason Manaois / October 31, 2018

The day has come for Calgary city council to decide whether the city will push through with their bid to host the 2026 Olympic Games.

Eddie “The Eagle” at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. (Photo Courtesy of Orville Barlow)

Council members will vote on Wednesday after chair of the Olympic assessment committee Evan Woolley, introduced a motion to pull their bid back. If 10 out of 15 members vote in favour of the motion, then the hope of hosting the Olympics will be gone for Calgary.

Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe of UBC’s Olympic Games Impact(OGI) study questions if the challenging negotiations between the Federal and Provincial government is because of Alberta’s financial struggle.

“I wonder if Alberta government is a bit shy given recent economic downturn. I would say they need to provide something close to a billion each.” – Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe, Lead Researcher/UBC OGI

When asked about what type of challenges the Olympics will present to the city, Dr. VanWynsberghe said two to three big infrastructure pieces would need to be built, worldwide attention would need to be leveraged, and Calgary would need the ability to address big-city problems.

Despite this, the lead researcher stated Calgary should still go through with their bid and if they win, make the 2026 Winter Olympic Games the first truly sustainable games.

Downtown Calgary would host several Olympic activities. (Courtesy of Bernard Spragg. NZ/

“Doing so changes the image of the city and the province from Tar Sands capital to cutting-edge centre of innovation and experimentation.” – Dr. Robert VanWynsberghe , Lead Researcher/UBC OGI

While many are questioning the tension between the city, provincial, and federal governments, a timeline of past Olympic games below shows why Calgary city council should be concerned about funding.

The Calgary Olympic committee did release a new funding proposal on Tuesday that was signed by both the Federal and Provincial government. However, Calgary city council did not agree with the proposal, and its 720 million dollar share. The vote is still ongoing as council debates the bid and Calgarians await the result.

With files from Ben Ronald.