International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch told Calgary taxpayers Thursday that a 2026 Winter Olympics in the Canadian City will be at “no cost.”
During a press conference following an announcement that Calgary, along with Milan-Cortina and Stockholm were to be proposed as final candidates to an IOC Session on Monday, Samaranch was asked what his message was to Calgarians ahead of a crucial Olympic bid plebiscite on November 13.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to inspire the youth of your community, it’s an entire wonderful opportunity to make sure that your community thrives, gets more sporting, gets more healthier, and inspires also the youth of the world. It’s a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for the people living in that community,” he said.
“And at no cost. That is the New Norm, at no cost.
“No infrastructure that is not going to be used after the Games will be built. Not one single one.
“The budget is going to be self-sustained. The International Olympic Committee, plus the ticketing, plus the local sponsors, will pay 100 per cent of the organizing budget at least.
“This is how the New Norm works.”
Calgary 2026 organizers have proposed a budget of CAD$5.2 billion (USD$4 billion) to host the Games, including operational costs, capital costs for two new venues and upgrades to others, and a CAD$1.2 billion contingency.
The IOC has promised to contribute almost CAD$1.2 billion (USD$925 million) of cash and in-kind services to the project and CAD$3 billion will be raised from federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Samaranch’s “no cost” pledge likely applies only to operational costs of around CAD$2 billion as the IOC does not cover the capital costs taken on by host cities. Those capital investments for venue construction and upgrades are typically the costs that go over budget and are difficult predict.
The IOC’s New Norms reform is a plan to reduce operational costs by as much as USD $5 billion by eliminating some requirements of host cities as well as realizing new efficiencies that can help reduce the need for accommodations, transportation and other services.
On Thursday a bid from Erzurum in Turkey was dropped from the 2026 race for failing to meet certain technical requirements.
A winning city will be elected September 2019.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.