Winter Olympics bid in 2026 being considered, Calgary mayor confirms

Toronto’s decision not to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics seems to have given Calgary's plans for a future Winter Games a boost.

Naheed Nenshi calls bid for 2026 Winter Games 'interesting idea'

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he wishes the city had made a bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and he confirms he has been part of conversations about the possibility of making a bid for the 2026 Games. (CBC)

Toronto's decision not to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics seems to have given Calgary's plans for a future Winter Games a boost.

Calgary's mayor has acknowledged for the first time that a local group is working on a bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Two weeks ago, Naheed Nenshi laughed when asked about Calgary — which staged the Winter Games in 1988 — and whether the city would possibly be making another Olympic bid.

But on Tuesday, hours after Toronto Mayor John Tory said his city will not bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Nenshi's tune was different.

"Maybe 2026 will be our moment. Maybe not," he said. "As I say to many people … interesting idea, let's flesh it out."

Sources have told CBC News a group of community leaders has been meeting for several months, talking about possibly making a Calgary Olympic bid. That group is not commenting publicly.

Nenshi revealed Tuesday he has met with the group and he is willing to help bring the Olympics back to Calgary.

"It's certainly a conversation that I'm open to having with folks with the federal and provincial governments but more important, with people in the community," he said.

The mayor says once the details of a proposal emerge publicly, he will want to know if Calgarians would back an Olympic bid.

Nenshi emphasized, though, that a new arena complex planned by the Calgary Flames ownership group is not linked to a pitch for the Olympics.

"There are some folks who have suggested that an arena proposal that came out this summer was a stalking horse for an Olympic bid. That is not in any way true," he said.

There are precedents for cities staging the Olympics more than once. St. Moritz, Switzerland, hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. Lake Placid, N.Y., hosted the Winter Games in 1932 and 1980. And Innsbruck, Austria, played host in 1964 and 1976. 

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, China.

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