Calgary city council will decide Wednesday whether a last-minute revamping of financial terms is enough to save a potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A bid seemed destined for the dustbin after Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s Olympic assessment committee.
Coun. Evan Woolley, who chaired the committee, brought forth motions to kill the bid and cancel a Nov. 13 plebiscite asking Calgarians if they want the Games.
But Olympic competitors like Spence say a 2026 Games in Calgary will provide inspiration for future Olympians, much like the 1988 Games did for him.
He attended both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic games as a competitor in alpine skiing.
“The Olympics provided me with one of my greatest goals in life. The legacy that provided me as an athlete and a Calgarian when they saw the dream in ’81 to have the ’88 Games was something I was so grateful as a Calgarian,” he told Global News Tuesday.
Spence said he understands the concerns about the costs associated with the Olympic bid, but said a good deal for Calgary is possible.
“No one is like, ‘Let’s host the Games at any cost,'” he said. “I get it that everyone’s frustrated, I get that it’s a tedious process, but good deals take time,” he said. “This is an opportunity for all of us to come together, and yes, we’re coming down to the crunch.”
BidCo CEO Mary Moran said it was great to see so such a large turnout at city hall.
“I’m really optimistic, and I think it’s so heartwarming to see so many supporters out here. I think it’s the untold story for Calgary,” she said. “We knew we had support and it’s great to see the groundswell of people who are in support of this, just like there was in ’88, and I think it’s building momentum every single day. Part of that is people have the facts.”
—With files from the Canadian Press