The day after the November 13th plebiscite on whether Calgary should bid to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games the newspaper headlines were unceremoniously defeatist: ‘Calgary No Longer an Olympic City.’
True, the outcome of the vote was decisive – a majority of Calgarians did not support the bid. But to the 46 percent who voted yes, nothing could be further from the truth.
Russell Reimer, founder and President of Calgary-based Manifesto Sport Management says that 46 percent represents much more than just a yes for the Games.
“In today’s polarizing political culture, 46 percent of the people voting in favour for something is as close to a unifying vision as could be achieved,” he says, adding, “There were countless, fractional reasons to say no, but for those who voted yes, there was one compelling reason – they believed in something bigger, a chance to do something uniquely Canadian.”
The headline that could be in the newspaper now is: ‘Calgary to host 2018-2019 Olympic Winter Games’. In fact, Calgary hosts the equivalent of an Olympic Winter Games over 15 weeks every winter, running 8-10 World Cups and World Championships for every international winter sport federation every single year.
Remarkably, since 1987, Calgary has hosted 221 World Cups and World Championships in winter sport. That sounds like an Olympic city to me.
For those still reeling from the vote, fret not – the Olympic spirit is indeed alive and well in this city. To get your Olympic fix this winter, come out and support Canada’s best athletes as they compete at home against the world. WinSport, the Olympic Oval, the Canmore Nordic Centre and Lake Louise are on deck this year for an impressive, packed winter sport schedule:
• November 2-4, 2018: ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup at the Olympic Oval
• November 24-25, 2018: Men’s Alpine Skiing World Cup at Lake Louise
• November 30-December 1, 2018: Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup at Lake Louise
• December 7-8, 2018: VIESSMAN Luge World Cup & Team Relay World Cup at WinSport
• December 14-15, 2018: Junior Luge World Cup at WinSport
• January 12, 2019: FIS Freestyle Moguls World Cup at WinSport
• February 4-10, 2019: BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon at the Canmore Nordic Centre
• February 15-16, 2019: FIS Freeski & Snowboard World Cup Half Pipe at WinSport
• February 22-24, 2019: IBSF World Cup Bobsleigh and Skeleton at WinSport
• March 2-3, 2019: ISU World All Round Speed Skating Championships at the Olympic Oval
That Calgary remains an international epicentre of winter Olympic sport is a significant achievement, thirty years on. The legacy of the ’88 Games is woven into the fabric of this city in ways that most of us cannot define, explain, or even know to be true, but there is no denying the games’ profound influence. Yes or no, we are an Olympic city and that will always be so.
“The beauty of Calgary is that the Olympics have never left this city,” exclaims Reimer. “The ‘88 Games have continued to shape this city for thirty years, whether people are aware of that or not.”
For more information on all of these great events check out WinSport’s dedicated website for all things Olympic in glorious YYC: https://winsport.ca/cheeroncanada/
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto