Canada’s PM Trudeau Cautiously Enthusiastic About Calgary 2026 Olympic Bid

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is interested in seeing the results from a committee assigned to study the prospects of a Calgary 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid, he said Wednesday, and he recognizes the value the event could bring to the city and the nation.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) meets with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on December 21, 2016 (Photo: Twitter @JustinTrudeau)

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) meets with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on December 21, 2016 (Photo: Twitter @JustinTrudeau)

After a meeting with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Trudeau said “we are always open to opportunities to showcase how extraordinary Calgary is, how extraordinary Canada is to the world and we look forward to continuing to hear about proposals like this in the coming months.”

“Obviously we’re in very, very early days right now.

“I think one of the things that people know about major international bids like Olympics or others is that, if you don’t have local folks fully engaged and excited and on board, it becomes very difficult to justify the costs and challenges that inevitably come with it.”

Canada PM @JustinTrudeau: we are always open to opportunities to showcase how extraordinary Calgary is #Calgary2026Click to Tweet

Mayor Nenshi said “we are so early in this process that it’s not at all clear where we’re going with all of this and certainly if the federal and provincial governments are not interested, that’s a deal-breaker. We’re done. No harm, no foul.”

The federal and provincial governments have yet to discuss any backing for a potential bid.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) opened the doors for any cities interested in bidding for an upcoming Olympic Games and earlier this year Calgary came forward as the only prospect while other cities such as Quebec and Vancouver stepped back, along with Toronto that was being considered as an option for the Summer edition of the Games.

Olympic Saddledome in Calgary, Canada - host of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games (Wikipedia Photo)

Olympic Saddledome in Calgary, Canada – host of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games (Wikipedia Photo)

Calgary hosted the Games in 1988 and left a valuable sport legacy that could be leveraged for the 2026 Games.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently changed bidding requirements that now further emphasize the value of using existing infrastructure to lower the costs and risks of organizing the Games, and to improve the sustainability of Olympic projects.

Nenshi said “the IOC has completely changed its thinking so if you need to build new facilities, that is actually a mark against you instead of a mark in your favour.”

Canada last hosted the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.

Should Calgary move forward with a bid, it would have to campaign among other interested international cities that could include a Swiss candidate as well as bids from Innsbruck, Stockholm, and 2022 Winter games runner-up Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Recent reports suggest the IOC will begin accepting applications from National Olympic Committees in 2018 after the scheduled Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea – but officials will begin a dialog with interested cities in 2017 as part of the “invitation stage” of the process.

The IOC will likely elect the 2026 host city during its all-members session to be held in 2019.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil