Calgary 2026 Olympic bid Chair Scott Hutcheson will travel to International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland next week to meet with the bid relations team including Executive Director Christophe Dubi.
Hutcheson was appointed to lead the BidCo late last week and on Tuesday attended his first City Council Bid Assessment Committee meeting, telling members that he will resign many of his current roles to avoid any conflicts of interest.
The Chair also reported that the BidCo has now been incorporated as “Calgary 2026.”
Experts answered questions from City Councillors based on a Bid Book overview provided ahead of the meeting.
Calgary 2026 officials said an initial bid book draft will be available for internal review by August 17 and a completed draft will be ready by the end of October. It’s unlikely though, that the full document will be released to the public before a referendum expected to be held in November – some details will be held close to maintain a competitive advantage over rival bids.
Councillors were told about plans to propose the use of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited lab in Montreal during the Games instead of budgeting CDN $20 million to construct and maintain a temporary facility in Calgary.
“We are looking into using charter flights to move samples between here and Montreal,” a bid spokesperson said.
“That would still be significantly cheaper than building our own lab.”
The IOC has in the past required local lab facilities to test samples in a secure and expeditious manner, but with the recent cost-cutting reforms it seems the Montreal lab could be a viable option. Discussions with the IOC are in progress.
Councillors were also told that the team is considering the option of holding the Paralympic Games ahead of the Olympics, opposite from recent tradition, and the benefits and logistical challenges are currently being weighed.
Th city also discussed a request for further funding over-and-above the current CDN $30 million bid budget to help fund a city-staffed team to liaise with Calgary 2026.
In the wake of Sunday’s referendum defeat of Sion’s 2026 candidacy in Switzerland, Hutcheson was optimistic that the IOC is working to change for the better when it comes to Olympic bids. He pointed to the Agenda 2020 set of reforms introduced by the organization in 2013 as validation.
With Calgary’s chief rival now out of the race, the IOC will be motivated to work closely with Calgary to keep the city committed. Other bids including Stockholm and from among Cortina d’Ampezzo, Turin and Milan in Italy are still seeking government backing. A project from Graz, Austria could face its own referendum and Sapporo may delay its bid until 2030. Turkey’s nomination Erzurum will face security risks from its proximity to Syria.
The IOC will elect a host city 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.