Calgary city council votes to continue exploring 2026 Winter Olympics bid

Calgary city council has voted to continuing exploring a potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The Calgary Bid Exploration Committee presented council Wednesday with an option not to move forward with the bid, and another option to keep exploring potential funding opportunities.

Council endorsed the second choice, saying it would provide the city’s administration with the time to investigate potential solutions “that could help reduce the city’s risks” associated with a bid.

The city says that regardless of whether a bid goes forward, the exploration committee’s work has provided valuable information about the costs of sustaining or upgrading Calgary’s 1988 Olympic facilities.

The 17-member committee chaired by former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson has said that while it’s feasible for the 1988 Olympics host city to have another turn, more work is needed to determine if it would be prudent.

When the bid exploration group was formed, it expected a September deadline for the city to decide on a bid, but the International Olympic Committee has since extended the invitation phase for 2026 bids, meaning the city has another year to mull it over.

The committee told city council last month that the price tag to hold the 2026 Games would be about $4.6 billion.

It said the Games would generate almost half that in revenue, but another $2.4 billion would be needed.

The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost $7.7 billion.

Calgary’s estimate is lower in part because the city could reuse venues from the 1988 Winter Games.

Sion, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria, are among Calgary’s potential rivals for a 2026 bid.

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