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Calgary To Explore 2026 Olympic Winter Games Bid


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Calgary city council set up an exploratory committee Monday to learn more about the feasibility of bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.  The Canadian city last hosted the Games in 1988. By a vote of 12-2, council went forward with a recommendation from the Calgary Sport Tourism Authority (CSTA) to form a bid exploration […]

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On paper this looks like a winning bid to happen (especially if no credible European bids put their hats in the ring). However, I don't think 2026 is the right year. With Paris looking like a strong favourite for 2024, this will leave LA (and the USOC) bidding for 2028. The last thing they need is Calgary winning (and potentially harming a 2028 bid).

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I can easily see a Calgary '26/L.A. '28 combo. If Paris wins 2024, that leaves Europe out for 2028. And with Asian fatigue surely with 2018, 2020 & 2022 they'll be out. South America out for awhile too after Rio 2016. And with South Africa not pledging itself until 2032, that leaves only maybe Australia as a potential challenger, which I'd still place the bet heavily for North America.

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On paper this looks like a winning bid to happen (especially if no credible European bids put their hats in the ring). However, I don't think 2026 is the right year. With Paris looking like a strong favourite for 2024, this will leave LA (and the USOC) bidding for 2028. The last thing they need is Calgary winning (and potentially harming a 2028 bid).

I see FYI beat me to it, but I was going to say almost the same thing. A Calgary win for 2026 would do little IMO to harm an LA 2028 bid. The reverse however would be more concerning. If LA wins 2024, that might hurt Calgary's prospects for 2026. And it goes without saying a 2026 Calgary win would put off Toronto from bidding for a Summer Olympics likely for a long time to come.

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I think we have all come to the realisation that a Toronto bid is just not happening anytime soon. Most politicians see it as a vote killer due to the high expense whereas a Winter Games in Calgary or Vancouver minimises the costs due to the vast existing infrastructure.

LA24 shouldn't hold any consequences for a Canuck bid - even before the 2022 fiasco the IOC showed they were happy to send back to back Games to Asia (2018/2020). If Paris wins that shouldn't cause any real pain to any serious European 2026 bid. Even if Paris wins I strongly believe any serious Swiss bid will have it in the bag as they really need to entice Western European countries to bid for winter Games again. Norway as well for that matter - however I am sure if it came down to... Sion/Lausanne/wherever VS Oslo we'll see the Swiss win just to bring the Games back to the central Alps and the WOG's "home" as it were.

So yeah - Calgary's competition is not LA - it's Europe.

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Agreed, but I think the COC and those advising Calgary also look at it this way; they were gun-shy in 2020 and 2022 and could have won either of those bids. Switzerland, Norway and Sweden can't get a bid together with broad public and political support. France will be either smarting from another failed Paris bid, or preparing for a Parisian Olympics. Germany I think will let sleeping dogs lie for a bit, especially considering Germany looks to bid for the 2024 European Championships. I think the real concern would be Austria deciding that the time is right to mount a bid again.

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The question with Austria is can they do any better than what they already offered with Salzburg and was rejected twice? Their 2014 bid was far and away the best offering and arguably they offered a better bid plan than Vancouver...

I will disagree on 2020 though - Tokyo was getting that either way.

I think the COC have realised the IOC will "reward" the USOC relatively soon with a Summer Games and with the public knowledge of a USOC domestic bid race already underway when Tokyo won in 2013 there would have been little chance Canada would have gotten over the line.

Bottom line - best case scenario for Canada right now is a 2026 Games - or for LA to be brutally smacked down by Paris (we are talking a completely demoralising round 1 win) resulting in the USOC sitting out 2028 to lick their wounds and "figuring out how to proceed". In that case a 2028 Toronto bid may get some traction.

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South America out for awhile too after Rio 2016.

I don't believe it's Rio hosting in 2016 that counts all of South America out for awhile. There really wasn't a viable South American candidate other than Rio at the time, and right now the next best host, Buenos Aires, is on the verge of financial recovery and I don't see them showing an interest until their economy is stable enough to handle the games. Plus since the IOC considers North and South America as one continent (which is f**king stupid) and they have a desire to see US summer games very soon, I don't think a South American bid has a chance until one happens.

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Agreed, but I think the COC and those advising Calgary also look at it this way; they were gun-shy in 2020 and 2022 and could have won either of those bids. Switzerland, Norway and Sweden can't get a bid together with broad public and political support. France will be either smarting from another failed Paris bid, or preparing for a Parisian Olympics. Germany I think will let sleeping dogs lie for a bit, especially considering Germany looks to bid for the 2024 European Championships. I think the real concern would be Austria deciding that the time is right to mount a bid again.

The COC weren't so much gun shy as no one attempted to actually put forth a serious bid, well with the exception of Quebec City but they're physically incapable of putting forth a realistic bid because of the lack of a big enough mountain for the alpine skiing event.

And Toronto determined they don't have the budget for the 2020 games, especially since they haven't even hosted the Pan American games yet.

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Agreed, but I think the COC and those advising Calgary also look at it this way; they were gun-shy in 2020 and 2022 and could have won either of those bids. Switzerland, Norway and Sweden can't get a bid together with broad public and political support. France will be either smarting from another failed Paris bid, or preparing for a Parisian Olympics. Germany I think will let sleeping dogs lie for a bit, especially considering Germany looks to bid for the 2024 European Championships. I think the real concern would be Austria deciding that the time is right to mount a bid again.

That's an easier argument to make in hindsight than it was at the time. Same argument that was made for the US to have bid then. The 2020 bid would have needed to be initiated less than 2 years after Vancouver. 2022 wasn't leaving much room from Calgary either and no one could have predicted all the European cities that had showed interest would all tell the IOC to go piss off. Calgary would have had no shot against virtually any of them. 2026 is a much more sensible bet having seen the 2022 mess play out. At worst, they're paving the way for a future Winter Olympics in Canada, whenever that might come. At best, the competition is just as weak for 2026 as it was for 2022 (not likely, but you never know) and they'd have a decent shot at winning.

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I don't believe it's Rio hosting in 2016 that counts all of South America out for awhile. There really wasn't a viable South American candidate other than Rio at the time, and right now the next best host, Buenos Aires, is on the verge of financial recovery and I don't see them showing an interest until their economy is stable enough to handle the games. Plus since the IOC considers North and South America as one continent (which is f**king stupid) and they have a desire to see US summer games very soon, I don't think a South American bid has a chance until one happens.

Many sport federations combine the 2 as well. It's not just backwards thinking from the IOC that creates that one.

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I don't believe it's Rio hosting in 2016 that counts all of South America out for awhile. There really wasn't a viable South American candidate other than Rio at the time, and right now the next best host, Buenos Aires, is on the verge of financial recovery and I don't see them showing an interest until their economy is stable enough to handle the games. Plus since the IOC considers North and South America as one continent (which is f**king stupid) and they have a desire to see US summer games very soon, I don't think a South American bid has a chance until one happens.

Of course. All of that goes without saying though. But I meant that in general. Which is why I said *after* Rio & not "because" of Rio. Rio 2016, with (or without) other viable South American candidates, pretty much takes the continent out of contention for a while (as it would any other continent) providing there's other viable competition from elsewhere in the world (which there usually always is, & as even your last sentence of your post illustrates).

At best, the competition is just as weak for 2026 as it was for 2022 (not likely, but you never know) and they'd have a decent shot at winning.

Other than the Swiss (who are the only active ones in Europe currently scouting a candidate to *maybe* put forward for 2026, & which would still need to pass the dreaded R-word in Europe these days - Referendum), who else do you see as likely feasible competition for Calgary in this case?

Cuz in ain't gonna be the French if they were to lose 2024. And very doubtful that it'll be the Germans (after them pulling out for 2022 & 2024). Perhaps maybe the Italians but after them also pulling out of 2020, & now there's a danger that they could also pull out of 2024, that seems quite unlikely for now. The Norwegians are probably still in "FU IOC" mode. The Swedes are still undecided & unlikely to get the needed support anyway. Probably the same with the Austrians & we ain't seeing Kraków again anytime soon either.

So right now, the 2026 field of interested parties looks much less than it did for 2022 at this point in time of that respective bid campaign. Back then, 2022 was being touted as "the 2012 Euro-battle royale of the Winter Games" (which also part of your post talks about all of those Euro participants initially). But that certainly fizzled out very quickly & in the end got us Beijing 2022.

So with 2026 seemingly starting out very lackluster compared to how 2022 did, I can see Calgary having very good prospects at this at the moment, & that's regardless of who hosts 2024 &/or 2028. Bcuz in a 2026 competition between lets say Calgary & Almaty, we already know which one of those two wins that one hands down.

*and that's before even taking into account that 2018 & 2022 are already slated for Asia.

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So with 2026 seemingly starting out very lackluster compared to how 2022 did, I can see Calgary having very good prospects at this at the moment, & that's regardless of who hosts 2024 &/or 2028. Bcuz in a 2026 competition between lets say Calgary & Almaty, we already know which one of those two wins that one hands down.

*and that's before even taking into account that 2018 & 2022 are already slated for Asia.

I completely agree. I've said in another thread that I think the 20s are ripe for back-to-back Games in North America. Barring a big surprise, I think it's almost a given at this point that the U.S. will get either the 2024 or 2028 Summer Games. There seems to be very little interest from Europe in 2026, and I have serious doubts about whether a Swiss bid would even get off the ground. Maybe the Swedes would decide to throw Stockholm in the ring again--if there are no other European options, I think the IOC's desire to return to Western Europe would outweigh the issue of the distance from Stockholm to Are--but I don't see that bid passing a referendum either. If there is no European bid, a Canadian bid would win in a landslide over any bid from Asia. I have to wonder if Almaty will even bother to try for 2026 unless it becomes clear that they are the only bid.

Unless the attitude toward the Winter Games changes considerably in Europe, I could even see a scenario in which 2026-2028-2030 goes to Canada-USA-USA. The USOC might as well throw Salt Lake in the ring for 2030 if it appears that there will be no other major bidders.

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Don't forget Sapporo has been mulling another bid - and will be fired up after they host the Asian Winter Games next February.

I doubt we'll see a third Asian Winter Olympics in a row though - however after Edmonton pulled out of the 2022 CG race it is far from guaranteed that a Canadian starter will make it they fall apart.all the way to the vote.

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