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14 Nov 2018

Breaking: Calgary public votes 'no' to 2026 Olympics
BY Tom Walker

Calgary hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 and would have had some of the infrastructure ready to host the Games – such as the three ski jumps

Calgary hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 and would have had some of the infrastructure ready to host the Games – such as the three ski jumps

Canadian city Calgary's hopes to host the 2026 Winter Olympics Games are all but over, after a public vote saw the city's residents reject the plans.

The city conducted a plebiscite to gauge public opinion on whether or not there is sufficient interest to submit a bid.

When the results came in, 56 per cent had voted against hosting the Games.

The result comes despite the "yes" campaign having the backing of Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, who had been vocal about the positive effects of a bid.

Nenshi had argued that a successful bid would see the city receive more than CA$2bn in federal and provincial funding for major infrastructure projects.

While the vote's result is non-binding on the city council – which has the final say on whether Calgary will proceed with a bid – it is unlikely that it will go against the public's wishes.

The vote is seen as another embarrassing rebuke for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as Calgary becomes the fifth candidate to pull out of the race to host the 2026 Games.

There are now just two candidates left for the 2026 Games – Swedish capital Stockholm and a joint Italian bid from the cities of Milan and Cortina.

Things could get worse for the IOC as the bid from Stockholm is also under threat, after a newly-elected Stockholm City Government said last month (October 2018) that no taxpayer money should be "wasted" on hosting the Games.

The lack of interest in cities hosting Olympic Games is becoming a critical issue for the IOC.

There were a total of five bids which were initially submitted for the 2024 Summer Olympics, but following withdrawals, only two bidding cities – Paris and Los Angeles – were left in the process.

As a result, the IOC agreed to award the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously – with Los Angeles agreeing to bid for the 2028 Games, effectively awarding the 2024 Games to Paris.

In October, IOC vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. admitted that the organisation has a problem.

"We have to make a huge effort in explaining ourselves better," he said, commenting on concerns on the cost of hosting the Games.

“(Our message) is not getting across with sufficient strength.”

The host city for the 2026 Games is set to be announced in June 2019, following a vote by the IOC council.



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