CALGARY 2026 COULD BE ‘POSTER CHILD’ FOR OLYMPIC AGENDA 2020
Canadian Olympic Committee President Tricia Smith is confident that Calgary could utilize its existing Olympic facilities from 1988 and fit the International Olympic Committee’s model of the ‘New Norm’ for Olympic host cities.
As the race to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games speeds up, Olympic leaders are seeking out ways to innovative and create sustainable legacies that make the Games more attractive to their cities and countries.
With an emphasis on legacy, Calgary, Alberta, Canada believes it is the right city to host the 2026 Winter Games by building on the success and sustainability of its last time hosting the Winter Olympics in 1988.
Nearly all of the venues used for the Games in 1988 are still helping athletes train and compete 30 years later, and with a few renovations and temporary venues, Calgary could once again be ready to host the world’s top winter sport athletes for two weeks of thrilling competition.
The people of Calgary will vote in a plebiscite on November 13 to determine whether the Olympic bid can continue. Bid organizers say the Games could bring an estimated $4 billion into the local economy while creating more than 15,000 jobs. Smith is hopeful the people will support the bid to create another great legacy for the country.
“Being from Vancouver, where I saw the 2010 Games actually change our country, I am extremely excited about the possibility of the Games in 2026. I know Calgary would be a magnificent host and really a “poster child” for how a Bid and Games under Agenda 2020 and the “New Norm” can be successful,” Smith tells Panam Sports after a meeting in Miami with Panam Sports President Neven Ilic and Secretary General Ivar Sisniega.
Smith adds that Canada is always considering the possibility of hosting more sporting events, especially after the success of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games. As Panam Sports begins to develop its new events, Canada could play a role in some of the early editions.
“Exploring the best way for additional competitive opportunities to be developed in our region for our athletes has always been of interest. A master calendar needs to be developed with IF consultation so we can plan in a way where we can all achieve that goal and be most efficient with our resources,” Smith adds.
After the success as host country of the Pan American Games, Canada and its athletes must shift their focus towards competing at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games next July in the Peruvian capital. While the team will be smaller than when Canada hosted the Games, Smith says the best athletes of Canada cannot wait to compete.
“The Pan Am Games and Lima 2019 are still a priority for us as we manage just the Olympic and Pan Am events at the COC. Our team will be smaller than Toronto but still in keeping with the size and strength of teams we have been able to send to other Pan Am Games. We are really looking forward to the Games in Lima,” she said.
“The Pan American Games are always a fantastic opportunity for our athletes. We are looking forward to another extremely positive and competitive environment. Seeing so many Olympic qualifiers, we expect the Games will bring top tier athletes to Lima. With the newly-launched Panam Sports brand, we expect the Games will attract competitive broadcast rights, increasing visibility for all athletes and sports,” Smith concluded.