Province hints at potential new bid for Calgary Olympics

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Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said a quick phone call would kick off a process to engage on a potential new bid for the Calgary Olympics.

But, at this point, it was news to her.

The mayor was responding to comments from Alberta Culture Minister Ron Orr during a Tuesday funding announcement for Calgary’s WinSport facility. During that event, Orr said he was aware of a number of potential proposals to bring the Olympics back to the city.

“We are exploring it. There is a small group of individuals who have developed proposals for a future opportunity,” Orr said in response to questions about a potential future offering.

“We will certainly review them as it becomes appropriate to talk about specifics. So yes, it is possible. »

Calgarians rejected a proposed bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics. It wasn’t a close vote, with 56% opposing it in a plebiscite.

Then-Councillor Jyoti Gondek said she would not support a bid at the time. At the time, she said she wasn’t distracted by “the hype and the hype.”

Now, as mayor, Gondek said she knows nothing of the potential proposals on the table.

“I don’t even know if it’s real,” the mayor said during a break on Tuesday.

“So I’m not going to weigh in on things that are still imaginary. Once it becomes a real thing, I can absolutely answer you.

Different time, different result?

In 2018, Calgary was in the throes of an economic slump. Many touted the Olympics as the kind of city-building project that would put the city back on its feet.

Ward 10 County. André Chabot said that in 2018 people didn’t feel like shelling out billions for a possible Olympic attempt.

There could be more today. He said the province had been keen to back a recent Commonwealth Games bid, so it’s no surprise they’re curious about another Olympic race.

“I think there would be a lot more appetite from the provincial government to contribute to an Olympic bid financially and in terms of resources,” he said.

“I think you would probably see a board that would be more supportive of going ahead with an Olympic bid now than it was, say, two or three years ago.”

Chabot said you have to spend a lot of money to get into the game. In 2018, this may have been a major downside.

“Again, it all depends on who is going to pay for all of this and what is the return on our investment,” Chabot said.

“The return on investment is huge if we are successful. But of course, it’s a big investment. So if we can find willing partners from the start, even before we apply, then I would say it’s worth considering. »

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