The City of Calgary’s potential bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games is based on “legacy,” according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch.
“We… started in January, the interactive working sessions, we have had technical meetings with them,” Samaranch said in a Tuesday update on the 2026 candidature process in Pyeongchang.
The session was broadcast live on the IOC’s YouTube channel.
“It’s a good project, it’s based very much on the legacy of something that already happened,” Samaranch said. “We like that word, ‘legacy,’ they like it too.”
Samaranch said the committee is in the middle of the dialogue phase with the cities interested in hosting the 2026 Games.
Those include Calgary, Sapporo, Japan, Stockholm, Sweden and Sion, Switzerland.
“We are based on maximum flexibility, reduced cost, maximum use of existing facilities, sustainability, legacy,” Samaranch said.
“The new norm is critical.”
The IOC visited Calgary in January and said some of the facilities from the 1988 Olympics could be used again in 2026, including the aging Saddledome, which could host events like figure skating and hockey.
The IOC said the Olympic Oval, home to long-track speed skating in 1988, could also be used again.
Samaranch also gave Mayor Naheed Nenshi a shoutout. Nenshi was expected to arrive in South Korea on Tuesday, according to his website.
It’s expected officials from Calgary will be shown the inner-workings of the Olympics while attending the games, which officially kick off on Friday.
Samaranch said the next steps for the interested cities will include workshops on communication and engagement, along with advice on media relations and explaining why hosting the Games would be a good move.
Calgary’s bid exploration committee has estimated the total cost of hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games at $4.6 billion. The total cost of a bid was estimated to be between $25 million and $30 million.
— With files from The Canadian Press