Twenty-five years after the Calgary Winter Olympics, a local tourism organization is researching how the city ranks as an international sports destination.


World figure skating champion Brian Orser carries the Canadian flag as he leads the Canadian Olympic team into McMahon Stadium in Calgary during the opening ceremonies of the XV Olympic Winter Games on February 13, 1988. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

SportBusiness International magazine recently labeled Calgary as "tipped for success in the future on the global sports event stage."

Tourism Calgary is researching whether the city has the resources to be an international sport destination. CEO Randy Williams said the city has strong infrastructure, but he sees room for improvement.

"We've got some challenges with some of our facilities. Hopefully 25 years from now we're not looking at McMahon Stadium and the Saddledome in its current condition."

Olympic Oval remains among best

The legacy of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics lives on through many of the sports venues built for the games. International championship events are still held at Canada Olympic Park and the Olympic Oval.

"I doubt the forefathers that bid on the '88 games would think that 25 years later some of these facilities would still be producing world class events and world class athletes," said oval director Kameron Kiland.

Marcel Lacroix coached Canada's speed skaters at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics and still mentors at the Olympic Oval. He said he has pretty much visited all the ovals in the world and Calgary’s facility is the best.

On Wednesday, the Olympic cauldron will be re-ignited as part of a free event to mark the anniversary.