Calgary is gone.
Unless members of the Calgary city council decide to ignore voters saying no, in a non-binding vote, to spending money on a proposed 2026 Calgary Winter Olympics, Calgary is out of the running for an event that seemingly nobody wants. Voters in two different cantons in Switzerland told the International Olympic Committee thanks but no thanks to the 2026 event. The IOC is headquartered in Switzerland. Austrian voters said no. Sapporo, Japan dropped out, the IOC didn’t want Turkey. The IOC is left with two contenders that are at best shaky and lack political support. Stockholm, Sweden and Milan-Cortina, two areas in Italy. Italy’s government has said it will not financially help the Milan-Cortina bid while Stockholm politicians want no part of funding the event. There is a possibility that Argentina might be a late entry into the bidding.
The International Olympic Committee is having major difficulties selling its winter crown jewel event. The IOC is having major difficulties selling its major summer crown jewel event. Numerous cities and countries have slammed the door on IOC’s sales force and there is a major reason for that. The cost of the Games, some of which is passed onto local taxpayers, is way too expensive and people don’t want to sink billions into a sports event that leaves lasting debt. Politicians and business leaders have failed to convince voters of the benefits of having the Olympics in town and those politicians and business leaders have little to offer except having the Olympics in town will put us on the map. The IOC likes to offer something about legacy as part of the final sales pitch to voters. The real legacy is decades of paying down the event debt. The race for the 2026 Winter Olympics will continue through June, 2019 when IOC delegates have to select a venue. The IOC hopes there will be bidders.