‘Calgary has the opportunity to lead the trend’: a cost-conscious look at a 2026 Olympic bid
Many Brazilians have raised concerns about Rio 2016’s costs of hosting a multi-billion dollar spectacle during a time of economic and social upheaval.
“We dream about that – when we are going to get the Olympics? But now, we get the Olympics…but it’s not a good time for us,” Jose Meontas, the head chef and owner of Minas Brazilian Steakhouse in Calgary said.
“I don’t know if something good is going to come out of it at the end of the day. But it’s a good celebration,” Brazilian-Canadian Marcelo Zaquie said.
It’s a celebration some Calgarians are now vying to lead in a very different way.
“We’re not going to be cheap, but we’re going to be really bottom-line oriented,” Doug Mitchell with Calgary’s 2026 Bid Exploration Committee said.
“There’s no way it’s going to get out of control. It’s kind of the new Olympics and we want to set the trend for the new Olympics.”
While some have suggested it isn’t the right time for Calgary to attempt a bid in the midst of our own economic troubles, Mitchell pointed out Calgary’s economy was in a similar state in the early 1980s – when they city was vying for the ’88 Games.
A local committee will soon start taking a serious look at the existing facilities and the costs of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.
“We don’t want this to be games for the elite, we want it to be for every Canadian to come to the games, and that they can afford to go,” Mitchell added.
“We live in a western democracy, it’s a very creative environment. We’re expected to stretch the money we have to its limits. Calgary has terrific credentials from 1988, as Vancouver does from 2010,” John Furlong, the former Vancouver Olympics 2010 CEO said.
Watch below: John Furlong joined Global Calgary in April 2016 to discuss a potential Winter Olympic bid
Both games have left a lasting legacy.
“I wouldn’t be here doing luge or having an Olympic career if Calgary hadn’t hosted the games in ’88,” Canadian Olympic luge athlete Alex Gough said.
Gough suggested Olympics with elaborate venues and spectacular ceremonies simply aren’t the way forward.
“I think the Games are spectacular and amazing on their own. We’re watching a showcase of the best athletes in the world in their sports,” Gough said. “That’s where the Games need to go. I think Calgary has the opportunity to lead the trend in where that’s going.”
Mitchell suggests if the cost for the 2026 Olympics in Calgary came out to $10 billion, for example, the committee would say “thanks, but no thanks.”
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.