City government could end Calgary's 2026 Olympic bid
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Another bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics is at risk, with Calgary's city council poised to vote on whether to kill the bid over financial concerns.
The council has scheduled a vote for Wednesday on motions to kill the bid and to cancel a vote scheduled for next month by Calgary residents on whether they want the games or not.
An end of the bid by Calgary, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, would leave Stockholm and a combined bid from two Italian cities as the only remaining contenders for the 2026 Games — and the local government in Stockholm, too, has balked at spending taxpayer money on the event.
Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo are the Italian cities bidding on the games. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to vote in June.
The sticking point in Calgary is the failure of the federal, provincial and local governments to agree on how much each would contribute to the event.
"We do not have acceptable agreements in place with the other orders of government," said Councillor Evan Woolley, who chairs Calgary's Olympic assessment committee. "It's going to be a difficult, difficult decision for council as a whole and for individual councillors."
Calgary 2026, the company set up to pursue the bid, estimated the cost of hosting the Games at $5.2 billion. Calgary 2026 asked for a combined $3 billion contribution from the federal and provincial governments and the city.
The Canadian government has committed $1.5 billion and the Alberta government has pledged $700 million, but Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Calgary shouldn't pay more than the province, which would leave the government contribution short of the $3 billion request.
Calgary 2026 board chair Scott Hutcheson said the bid was not dead yet.
"Negotiations with government are positive, are continuing — they have not stopped — and we remain confident an agreement will be reached," Hutcheson said in a statement.