Dave King, left, Linda King, right, son and daughter of Frank King, wearing 1988 Calgary Olympic jackets react to the results of a plebiscite on whether the city should proceed with a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Olympic and Paralympic committees disappointed, but respectful of Calgary’s vote

The majority of voters said ‘no’ to a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Gripped by disappointment after Calgary’s 2026 plans were seemingly snuffed after a plebiscite, Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith remains hopeful that the country will still host the Games in the future.

“Sport in a positive sense really brings a country together,” Smith said Wednesday morning. “I think it’s just a part of us, our humanity. So I suspect we will see another bid from Canada.”

Smith took a red-eye flight back to Toronto after trying to drum up support in Calgary on Tuesday. However, a majority of voters said ‘no’ to a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games with 56.4 per cent of those who went to the polls casting a dissenting vote.

“This was an opportunity for Calgary to really sort of lead the way and show how it could be done, but we have to respect the process and respect the result of the vote,” Smith told The Canadian Press.

Read more: Calgarians vote ‘no’ to bidding for 2026 Winter Games, in plebiscite

The group representing Canada’s Paralympic athletes also said it was disappointed, but respected the decision.

CPC president Marc-Andre Fabien said a home Games would have “united the nation” and energized people across the country. In a statement, he said he’s pleased “the people of Calgary had the opportunity to share their voice.”

Citizens were asked in the non-binding plebiscite if they wanted to host a Winter Games again. Out of 767,734 eligible voters, 304,774 voted and 171,750 said ‘no.’

City council has the final say on whether Calgary proceeds with a bid years after the city hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics.

The results won’t be declared official until Friday, with council expected to address the results Monday.

Smith spent time Tuesday talking to Olympic athletes and encouraging Calgarians to vote.

“I have to say that 98 per cent of the people I spoke with were very positive about the bid and said they were on their way to vote,” she said. “So I think the momentum had changed. It was a matter of getting information out there. I think there’s a lot of people in Calgary that still see the varied benefits of the Games.

“What I heard a few people say is, ‘Well maybe it’s not the time for us right now, we’ve got a lot of issues right now that maybe we should be dealing with first.’”

Read more: The cost of Calgary hosting the 2026 Winter Games

Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010.

“I’m from Vancouver and I lived through that Games and was part of that process,” she said. “It was just so positive for the country and it really changed us a nation. Certainly even just building off the ‘88 legacy, the athletes in 2010 just put us on the map in terms of being one of the top winter sport nations.

“I think it made a big difference to the way we see ourselves as a nation.”

The International Olympic Committee invited Calgary, Stockholm and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo to be candidate cities for 2026.

The IOC will accept bids in early January and the election of the host city is set to be finalized in June.

Pyeongchang, South Korea served as host of the 2018 Winter Games. Beijing will host in 2022.

— Lauren Krugel contributed to this story.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fuel and copper wire thefts in Columbia Valley

Columbia Valley RCMP report October 7-13th

Stabbing in Radium leads to high-risk takedown

Two men arrested in relation to attack

Former Liberal candidate endorses Greens in Kootenay-Columbia

Don Johnston says he’ll be voting for Abra Brynne on Oct. 21

Invermere buys Athalmer land for $5 million

Celebratory barbecue to come

Explosive Dynamiters too much TNT for Rockies

Hometown crowd pulls for Rockies in last weekend’s home game

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Most Read