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Calgary residents voted against holding the Olympic Games in 2026 in the city

The last and final word remains for the city council.

Thousands of balloons were released into the air during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. February 13, 1988 Photo: Phil Walker / The Canadian Press
Thousands of balloons were released into the air during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. February 13, 1988 Photo: Phil Walker / The Canadian Press

The city of Calgary summed up the informal results of a citywide referendum, which should draw a line under the need to hold games in the city. Residents of the city were asked to answer the question of whether they supported the application for hosting the 2026 winter games. The opportunity to vote was provided at 165 polling stations from 8 am to 8 pm (local time).

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We are disappointed with the result. This was an opportunity to greet the whole world in Canada, where people could feel the unifying power of games.[/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We thank the Calgary 2026 organizing committee and many other people who have worked hard in support of the application. We applaud the athletes, staff and volunteers whose passion for the Games has been demonstrated through long hours of work to make the games in Calgary real. But above all, we thank the people of Calgary and Canmore who were behind these efforts to make the 2026 games a reality for Calgary.[/perfectpullquote]
Trisha smith
Head of NOC Canada
Photo: Jeff Macintosh / The Canadian Press
Photo: Jeff Macintosh / The Canadian Press
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Are you in favor or against Calgary’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Olympics in 2026? [/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] I support the Calgary application.
I am against the Calgary application.[/perfectpullquote]
Proposed wording in referendum

With a majority of votes (about 56% percent of the votes), residents voted against the application. However, the decision of the residents is not final. Last word on the advice of the city of Calgary, which should make a final decision in the near future.

Promotional materials that were offered to residents in support of the vote
Promotional materials that were offered to residents in support of the vote
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The voting went well, but I do not like that we spent a lot of money on it.[/perfectpullquote]
Cherie Makinechn
Calgary resident

Conflict between Calgary residents, the city council and the Canadian government has flared up over money. In particular, the city council, the leadership of the province of Albert and the government of Canada for a long time could not agree on the financial participation of each of the parties in the budget of the Games-2026. Residents of the city are against such large-scale spending budget money. According to residents, the city will not receive any significant benefits from the Olympics in 2026, in contrast to the 1988 Winter Games, when Calgary hosted the games. It was assumed that the city will build a modern high-speed railway that will connect the city with the airport, expand key highways and build a modern NHL-level arena.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The current main hockey arena of Calgary – Skoushabenk-Sadledoom is one of the oldest in the NHL and talk about the new arena has been going on for about 10 years. Despite the fact that Calgary has already prepared a plan for the new arena in 2015-2017, the matter has not moved from the dead point and the city risks losing the team of the NHL level, which may move to another city. One of the main obstacles to the club in the construction of the arena is the mayor of Calgary, Nahid Nenshi, who puts a spoke in the wheel. The construction of a new ice arena for the Olympic project, as it was in the 80s, when the Schoshabenk-Saddlehouse was built, was a great chance for Calgary to get a new arena.[/perfectpullquote]

reference

But the IOC strongly recommended reducing the costs of building infrastructure and focusing on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of existing facilities. Therefore, it was decided that the city would abandon the construction of a new ice arena and railway. It is expected that the planned expenditures will amount to about $ 5 billion , taking into account the fact that Calgary will use many of the facilities that were built for the 1988 Olympics.

Initially, the application was supported by the Government of Canada, and later after the budget was agreed between Calgary, Albert Province and Canada, the Council of the City of Calgary supported the holding of a referendum among all residents of the city. According to the results of the vote, which was preceded by a two-hour debate, 9 people voted for the continuation of work on the application, 6 – against. Later, in support of the games, the Calgary city council organized a rally and invited famous Canadian athletes to it.

Calgary residents will have their say on November 13, but what does the rest of Canada think – should Calgary accept the Olympics of 2026?
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Despite the crisis in the province of Alberta, as well as the lack of the necessary infrastructure, the IOC chose Calgary to host the Games-88. Since the end of the games, in Calgary, there are several functioning facilities to this day: “Olympic Oval Calgary”, “Olympic Plaza”, Canadian Olympic Park “,” Skoushabank-Sadldoum. Nakiska Station, about an hour from Calgary in the Rocky Mountains, was built for alpine skiing events.[/perfectpullquote]
reference

The situation with other applications

Executive Director of the Swedish Olympic Committee Peter Reinebo. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty images
Executive Director of the Swedish Olympic Committee Peter Reinebo. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty images

This vote threatens the Olympic movement. The Calgary application for the IOC was the most promising since it was worked out since the Olympics in Vancouver. In addition, Canada already has experience in the Olympic Games.

At the beginning of 2018, there were 7 candidates for hosting the games in 2026. In the summer of 2018, the Swiss Sion withdrew his candidacy for hosting the games, as the residents voted against. A month later, his application was withdrawn and the Austrian Graz.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We note with great regret that we did not receive support from the authorities of the state of Styria, which we considered necessary. Therefore, we informed the IOC that all negotiations on the application are terminated in order to avoid additional costs[/perfectpullquote]
NOC Austria

That summer, but already in August, the Sapporo leadership recalled their city’s application. This is attributed to another earthquake on the island of Hokkaido and a desire to focus on preparing for the games in 2030. In early October, the IOC sent to the NOC of Turkey an official refusal at the request of the city of Erzurum to host the games due to various problems, including the fact that Turkey planned to use some of the Olympic facilities in Sochi.

In Stockholm, there are also discussions about the need to hold the Olympics. The city’s bid to host the games is under threat after the city’s parliament has highlighted its concern about the taxpayers ’spending on the event. The city’s coalition government between the Green and Alliance parties has eliminated financial plans to secure funding for the Olympic bid, which puts the project at risk. The Social Democrats, who were part of the ruling coalition before the elections in October 2018, were the only party supporting the Stockholm-2026 project.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]As applicants for hosting the Games, we do not discuss other candidates. We just talk about our own campaign.[/perfectpullquote]
Lars marcusson
Comment of the head of the press service of the NOC of Sweden on the results of voting in Calgary.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Our plan is both financially prudent and socially responsible for all stakeholders. Almost the entire project will have to be funded from private sources. We believe that this approach best reflects the reality of the IOC. Stockholm-2026 will set new standards in every aspect, not only for these, but also for future games.[/perfectpullquote]
Statement by the Swedish Game Organization Committee 2026
IOC President Thomas Bach, center, with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, left, and Italian NOC President Giovanni Malago. Photo: NOC Italy.
IOC President Thomas Bach, center, with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, left, and Italian NOC President Giovanni Malago. Photo: NOC Italy.

The application of Italy (Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo) may also fall away soon. Initially, the concept of the application consisted of three cities (there was still Turin), but the mayor of Milan insisted that his city would lead the project. The mayor of Turin did not like this and he withdrew his city from the application. Then Milan and Cortina agreed with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) to submit a new joint application. After the reorganization of the application, the Italian government has withdrawn its plans to provide financial support for the games. The leaders of the two richest regions of Italy claim that they will independently finance the project by attracting private investment. But the financial crisis in Italy can hit the budget of games a lot. NOC of Italy claims that the games will not hit the taxpayers much, because the existing infrastructure will be involved,
Two years ago, Italy was forced to withdraw Rome’s application to host the 2024 Summer Olympics because of a strong position on the part of the mayor of the city. And in 2012, Prime Minister Mario Monti already refused an application for the 2020 Olympic Games because of financial problems.

History of similar referendums

  • 1976 Winter Olympics. Denver (USA) – about 60 percent of residents voted against the Games, which had previously been given to Denver. In the end, Innsbruck (Austria) became the organizer of the games.
  • 1998 Winter Olympics. Salt Lake City (USA) – 57% of votes in favor of the 1998 or 2002 application. In 1998, the White Olympiad was held in Nagano.
  • 2002 Winter Olympics, Valais (canton) (Switzerland) – the majority of residents voted in favor of the application. The organizer of the games was Salt Lake City.
  • Winter Olympics 2006, Valais (canton), (Switzerland) – the majority of residents voted in support of the application. The organizer of the games was the Italian Turin.
  • 2010 Winter Olympics. Bern (Switzerland) – 78% were against, Vancouver (Canada) – 64% in support of the application, Quebec (Canada) – 77% in support of the application of the city. The games were held in Vancouver.
  • Winter Olympics 2018, Munich (Germany) – 60% of votes in support of the application. The games were held in Korean Pyeongchang.
  • Winter Olympics 2022. Krakow (Poland) – about 70% of votes against theapplication , St. Moritz and Davos (Graunbünden) (Switzerland) – 53% of votes against the application , Munich (Germany) – 52% of votes against theapplication , Oslo (Norway) – 55% in support applications. It was later withdrawn due to the lack of state support. 2022 Games will take Beijing
  • Summer Olympics 2024. Hamburg (Germany) – 52% of votes against theapplication . Budapest (Hungary) – a referendum was appointed, but later the application was canceled. Boston (USA) – a referendum was appointed, but the application was canceled. The 2024 Summer Games will be held in Paris.
  • Winter Olympics 2026. Sion (Switzerland) – 54% of votes against theapplication , Innsbruck (Austria) – 53% of votes against the application , St. Moritz and Davos (Graunbunden) (Switzerland) – 60% of votes against theapplication , Graz (Austria) – a referendum was planned, however application lost state support.
  • Summer Olympics 2028. Vienna (Austria) – 72% of the votes were against the city’s bid to host the Games. The IOC, without special consideration of all potential applications, without alternative, gave the games to Los Angeles. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, the capital of the next competition was chosen 11 years before they were held.

On June 23, 2019, the IOC, at its 134th session in Lausanne (Switzerland), will announce the capital of the 2026 Olympic Games. According to the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, the organization does not have a backup plan if all three candidates withdraw their candidatures from the vote. All applicants must submit final draft applications and all necessary guarantees by January 11, 2019.

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