April 3, 2018 9:59 am
Updated: April 3, 2018 8:38 pm

IOC announces list of interested countries for 2026 Winter Games

WATCH: It's been one of the biggest questions in Calgary this year – should the city bid to host the 2026 Olympic Games? An Ipsos poll done exclusively for Global News gives insight into what some Canadians, Albertans and Calgarians are thinking.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the list of countries interested in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics — and Calgary is on that list.

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“I warmly welcome the NOCs’ [National Olympic Committees] and cities’ interest in hosting the Olympic Winter Games,” said IOC president Thomas Bach in a news release Tuesday. “The IOC has turned the page with regard to Olympic candidatures. Our goal is not just to have a record number of candidates, but ultimately it is to select the best city to stage the best Olympic Winter Games for the best athletes of the world.”

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The six other cities that have expressed an official interest in hosting the 2026 games include:

  • Graz, Austria
  • Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Turin, Italy
  • Sapporo, Japan
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Sion, Switzerland
  • Erzurum, Turkey

The IOC said a dialogue stage will begin next, “in which the IOC provides NOCs with greater support, technical advice, communications assistance and materials to develop the best possible candidature.”

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During a media conference call on Tuesday morning, one IOC official said legacy Olympic cities like Calgary have a leg-up over the competition.

“I won’t be shy to repeat that you have not only the venues but the expertise, including in the last Games you have organized,” said Christophe Dubi, Olympics Games executive director.

He added it’s important for Calgary to make sure that any budget put forward is strong and includes every last detail. He said that would include looking at the numbers from Vancouver in 2010 and factoring in realistic figures looking ahead to 2026.

WATCH: Should Calgary host the Olympics? The results are in from an exclusive Ipsos poll commissioned by Global News poll. Tony Tighe sits down with a panel to talk about the outcome.

When asked if he’s concerned about Calgary possibly holding a plebiscite on the issue, he said he didn’t see it as a problem.

“A project of this nature has an impact,” he said, “hopefully, a positive impact on the life of the citizens for a life-time duration.”

READ MORE: Taxpayer organization calls for Calgary Olympic plebiscite as governments commit to bid corporation

The IOC’s announcement coincides with the release of an exclusive Global News/Ipsos poll which suggests that a majority of Calgarians would ultimately support a bid for the 2026 Games.

The host city for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games will be announced by the IOC in September 2019.

With files from the Canadian Press and Global’s Reid Fiest

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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