International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Director Christophe Dubi will travel to Calgary next Tuesday (July 24) to meet with the city’s business leaders, elected Councillors and officials from the Calgary 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid.
At a ticketed closed-door Chamber of Commerce event, Dubi, along with Hannah Burns who focuses on the IOC site selection process, will present to the Calgary business community and participate in a moderated discussion.
Calgary 2026 bid Chair Scott Hutcheson will also participate in the event.
Dubi will also have an opportunity to speak privately with the Olympic bid team and City Councillors as they prepare for a public consultation campaign and a November plebiscite that should ultimately decide whether Calgary bids for its second Winter Games.
A high-ranking IOC official, Dubi has become the voice of the organization’s aggressive bid reforms that have dramatically changed the way cities develop hosting plans and organize the Games. Dubi urges interested bid cities to use existing venues and infrastructure in a regional scope to help minimize capital costs.
He also spearheaded the launch of the “New Norm” plan earlier this year that promises to cut up to USD $500 million from Winter Games’ operational costs by relaxing some of the long-standing expectations and by introducing new efficiencies. The IOC plans to work more closely with organizers and share best practices.
Dubi has said that the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games turned an operational profit using some of these techniques even before the full plan was rolled out by the IOC.
In recent weeks two European bids dropped out of the race after failing to secure the support required to move forward. Sion in Switzerland saw its bid evaporate after losing a referendum and Graz in Austria cancelled plans when its Parliament failed to reach a consensus of support. Last year Innsbruck in Austria saw its 2026 bid end after a failed public vote.
In all three cases, it was the fear of financial risk that turned stakeholders against the project.
With uncertainty still predominant among the remaining five interested bids, the IOC is working hard to sell its new reforms to the general public – but it still lacks concrete evidence that the changes will remove the risk from hosting the Games.
Tuesday’s meetings will represent a rare opportunity for the IOC to present its case in person to stakeholders, and could prove crucial as the city heads into a public consultation campaign before November’s vote.
On Tuesday the city’s bid assessment committee revealed that almost CAD $5 million of internal costs will be absorbed by the city as staff spends time preparing for the bid. The amount is in addition to the $30 million already budgeted by the city, Province of Alberta and Government of Canada to run the bid.
An additional $2 million will be required to run November’s plebiscite.
The committee also announced that the details of a multiparty agreement between Calgary and the provincial and federal governments will not be released until September along with the next draft of the planned Games budget. Critics argue that this leaves little time for the electorate to consider the information before they head to the polls.
An early draft of the budget released last year estimated the cost of hosting the Games at CAD $4.6 billion (USD $3.5 billion), but planners hinted that the estimate could increase when the next figures are released. These budgets include both operational and capital costs, and the IOC claims that the number could actually decrease if the new reform strategies are followed.
The IOC will release a shortlist of 2026 candidates in October and expect the submission of bid books with guarantees in January. The IOC will elect the winning city at its Session in September 2019.