Calgary’s City Council has yet to officially confirm that it will bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games but it seems officials are eager to enter the race. A high-level delegation led by Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi will travel to PyeongChang for the Games and stay for as long as nine days to participate in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Observer Program.
“The program is a unique opportunity to experience the Games first-hand to learn how we could host a successful Games in Calgary – if we pursue a bid,” the Mayor said Friday.
The trip will cost an estimated $135,000 and include Canmore Mayor John Borrowman, Calgary’s deputy city manager, Alberta deputy premier Sarah Hoffman, Alberta Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda, and other senior government officials and members of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).
On behalf of Calgary City Council, I will be part of the delegation participating in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics Observer Programme. The Programme is a unique opportunity to experience the Games first-hand to learn how we could host a successful Games in Calgary—if we pursue a bid. Over the course of my time in Korea (Feb. 6-14), I will have a full schedule of meetings with local and international officials and have many opportunities to get a behind-the-scenes look at Games operations. To make the most of my travel, I am also working with Calgary Economic Development to participate in a number of executive meetings to promote, and support investment in, Calgary. I look forward to sharing my findings with Council upon my return. – Mayor Naheed Nenshi Statement
Calgary’s potential rival Sion, Switzerland will send a delegation but cannot yet confirm that the Mayor will attend. A spokesperson told GamesBids.com that Sion’s Mayor Marcel Maurer, or his Vice-Mayor may attend the Games. Stockholm has yet to receive government approval, but will be part of the Observer Program with a delegation led by bid CEO Richard Brisius.
Sapporo in Japan is the fourth interested bidder in the race.
Calgary is waiting for financial contributions from the top levels of government to support a bid that will cost as much as CDN $30 million (USD $24.15 million). Organizers are hoping for a commitment of $10 million from the Province of Alberta and $10.5 million from the Canadian Federal government ahead of a March 31 IOC application deadline in order to move forward. Announcements are expected later this month.
An early budget sized the Games themselves at as much as $4.5 billion, but subsequent planning could reduce that price.
Without certainty that Calgary’s bid will move forward, a COC official told GamesBids.com that no promotion for the bid has been organized in Canada Olympic House. Both Sion and Stockholm have planned displays in their national houses.
The PyeongChang Games open February 9 and run until February 25.