Calgary one of three cities remaining in 2026 Olympic bid race

A potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Games is one of three that will be proposed as an official candidate for approval, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Thursday.

Stockholm and the combined Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo will also be proposed for approval by the IOC’s full membership next week, while the Turkish city of Erzurum has been dropped from the bidding contest.

2026 Olympics, Calgary, bid
According to the IOC, a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Olympics is one of only three to have approval from the committee. Photo by Kym via Unsplash.

The proposal by the IOC’s executive board followed recommendations by a working group assessing the potential candidates.

Calgary, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988, has yet to decide whether it wants to host another games. A plebiscite is scheduled for Nov. 13 asking Calgarians if they want the games again.

IOC vice-president Juan-Antonio Samaranch Jr says telecommunications, transport and airports were “a little challenging” for Erzurum.

“They have all our respect and we will continue to talk to them,” the IOC official said.

Erzurum, in eastern Turkey, had also considered using facilities and venues in Russia.

Turkey’s latest sporting rejection came one week after it lost out to Germany over the right to stage soccer’s 2024 European Championship. The country had also failed with bids to host Euro 2008, 2012 and 2016.

In addition, Istanbul is a five-time loser in Summer Games bidding, including the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo.

Bids from Sion (Switzerland), Innsbruck (Austria) and Sapporo (Japan) had also previously failed.

The bid process has been revised and made cheaper for potential bidders, aiming to ease concerns of European voters who have consistently rejected Olympic plans since Russia spent US$51 billion on massive infrastructure linked to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

The 2026 vote is scheduled next September at an IOC meeting which likely must be moved from its intended venue, Milan.

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