Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given his cautious support to a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games following a meeting with the city’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
He said that the Federal Government is open to supporting an attempt, but warned that it remains “very, very early days”.
Nenshi raised the issue in a meeting following Trudeau’s appearance at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
A city-appointed Committee headed by former police chief Rick Hanson is currently exploring the possibility of launching a bid.
Assessing local support is “key”, Trudeau said.
“One of the things people know about major international bids like the Olympics is that if you don’t have local folks engaged and excited and on board, it becomes very difficult to justify the costs and the challenges that inevitably come with it,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying by the Calgary Herald.
“So I look forward to hearing very much of Mayor Nenshi’s engagements and consultations with the citizens of Calgary, with the province of Alberta.
“We’re always open to opportunities to showcase how extraordinary Calgary is, how extraordinary Canada is, to the world and we look forward to continuing to hear about proposals like this.”
Nenshi claimed the conversation was “cursory” but, like Trudeau, has not yet decided either way.
He now hopes to assess support from provincial authorities, who would also have to contribute financially, before making a firm decision.
“All three Governments do need to lean in,” he said.
“The National Governments tend to lean in on operational costs, like security.
“The Provincial Governments tend to lean in on infrastructure costs that are required, but we don’t really have any idea what that looks like.”
If they do bid, Calgary would hope to use many of the facilities used when they hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Since then, the 2010 edition was also held on Canadian snow and ice in Vancouver.
Switzerland are almost certain to bid for the 2026 Games, with two projects still in the running to be their candidate.
Trento in Italy, Dresden in Germany, 2022 runner-up Almaty in Kazakhstan, Sweden’s capital Stockholm, Innsbruck in Austria, Lake Placid in the United States and the Japanese city of Sapporo have also all been touted as potential bidders.
insidethegames revealed last week how the 2026 race is set not to officially begin until after a lengthy after Pyeongchang 2018.
A lengthy “invitation phase” is set to instead take place first in order to avoid a repeat of a 2022 race in which four of the six initial contenders – Stockholm, Lviv, Kraków and Oslo – all withdrew before Beijing won a two-horse race against Almaty by just four votes in 2015.
A 2026 host should be chosen in 2019.