Mayor Regis Labeaume of Quebec City says he’s had discussions with officials in former Olympic Winter Games host cities Calgary, Vancouver and Lake Placid about sharing events for a 2026 Olympic Winter Games bid.
Quebec City failed to win it’s bid for the 2002 Olympic Games and declined further bids primarily due to the lack of sufficient nearby alpine ski venues and fear of high costs.
But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recently introduced reforms under its Agenda 2020 that allows venues to be shared across a broader footprint in order to cut organization costs to host the Games.
A Quebec City press release said Thursday that IOC President Thomas Bach has organized a meeting with the Mayor at headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 11 for preliminary talks about a 2026 Olympic bid and Agenda 2020. The IOC has recently had difficulties attracting Winter Games bidders and was forced to watch four European cities drop their bids for the 2022 Winter Games leaving only two Asian cities to choose from.
The mayor said “in recent years I have often mentioned that the gigantism of the Olympic Games and the astronomical costs to organize.”
“The population of Quebec knows my position on the Olympics and, until further notice, it has not changed.”
But, he said, the IOC called him on December 4 “…inviting Quebec to a meeting to present their new framework, the Olympic Agenda 2020. I shall meet President Thomas Bach and his team.”
In order to be feasible, Quebec would need to team up with Calgary, Vancouver or Lake Placid – cities that already have costly sliding tracks and ski jumps – to lower the cost of infrastructure investments. The Mayor said, “we understand that the Olympic Agenda would enable the host city the chance to partner with another city in order to share some events.”
Lake Placid has been discussing a bid for a possible third Olympic Games for several years but lacks the infrastructure to move forward on its own.
He added that such an alliance would “dramatically diminish the total costs of infrastructure investments, which would make the Games more affordable.”
President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale, Sam Hamad said “In the coming years, if Quebec decides to submit an application, the following conditions should be collected – a strong social acceptability and unwavering from the population – support for different levels of government – the respect of the financial framework City of Quebec – a real chance to be selected at the national level and by the IOC.
A Quebec bid would first need to be nominated by the Canadian Olympic Committee and applications would be due into the IOC in late 2017. Vancouver was the last Canadian Olympic host in 2010 and Toronto expressed interest in bidding for the 2024 Games but declined hours before the deadline due to fears of high costs and low public support.
Last week Swiss Olympic launched a campaign to select a 2026 Winter Games bidder, and 2022 runner-up Almaty, Kazakhstan has also expressed interest to launch a follow-up campaign.
PyeongChang, South Korea is set to host the 2018 Winter Games followed by Beijing in 2022.