Why the topic of 2026 is important for every Calgarian

 
Photographer
Canadian Olympic Committee

Why the topic of 2026 is important for every Calgarian

By Paula Worthington

This fall, Calgarians are talking about 2026, and whether our city will move forward with delivering a bid to host the Winter Olympic Games. The conversation is a lively one, with a lot of questions at stake. What’s becoming abundantly clear is that Calgarians won’t host the Olympics at any cost – financial and otherwise.

As the host of the 1988 Olympics, Calgary already has much of the infrastructure in place to host another Games, but facilities will require investment to bring them up to 2026 standards. Some are concerned about the costs, while others recognize that those investments will be needed for those facilities regardless of whether Calgary moves forward with the bid or not.

Nostalgia, cost, volunteerism, investments, funding, security. The conversation around the Olympics carries many points of view, but it’s also an opportunity to unite different age groups and mindsets. Here’s why it’s important to every generation:

Photographer
Canadian Olympic Committee

Nostalgia and Experience

It was a team of thousands of volunteers that brought the 1988 Olympics to life in Calgary. Some say the Olympics helped solidify the spirit of volunteerism that has become an integrated part of the Calgary culture today. Those who worked on the Games in 1988 know first-hand the lasting legacy created, and the intangible spirit that captured the city and helped catapult it to the world stage. They also remember that Calgary approached the Games with a strategic mindset then, which helped create an economic boost to the city and a legacy that has spanned decades.

The questions they’re asking:

  • How do we bring back the magic of the ‘88 Games in a way that’s fiscally responsible?
  • What will we need to do differently this time around?

Growing up with the Olympics

For those who grew up experiencing the Olympics in our city, it’s a chance to play a larger role in shaping how a bid could look for Calgary this time around – on Calgary’s terms. This group were the kids of the ‘80s, who remember the spark that came from hosting the Olympic games, whether it was capturing a glimpse of the torch as it made its way through the city streets, or were inspired by the athleticism of the athletes who took home gold. The Spirit of ‘88 is definitely cool again, with everything from micro-breweries to fashion fads embracing the magic of the era.

The questions they’re asking:

  • What does the Olympics look like for the future of Calgary?
  • How can I be part of bringing these Olympics to life?  
  • What kind of conversations should I be having?
Photographer
Canadian Olympic Committee

The New Thinkers

Creating the Olympics of the future also requires the brawn and brains of the Millennials, who refuse to accept the status quo and who love to flex creativity, logic and opportunity in their thinking. They’re curious and excited, and aren’t afraid to re-think tradition for the chance to apply new solutions to long-standing traditions.

The questions they’re asking:

  • Can we host the Olympics on our terms?
  • How can I help set the course for the Calgary of the future?
  • What does it mean for me?

What’s next? Have the conversations and learn the facts. Websites like www.yescalgary.ca are addressing the opportunities and concerns Calgarians are feeling. If you want a chance to be part of the Olympics, write a letter to your city councilor expressing your support, start a conversation (casually or by hosting an event) with your colleagues and friends about how and if Calgary can turn this opportunity into a legacy that will benefit generations to come.

But like any great athlete, now isn’t a time to sit at the sidelines and wait it out – it’s time to jump in the game and let yourself be heard.