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1970: Vancouver-Garibaldi Olympic bid crumbles

The Story

When the International Olympic Committee announces Montreal will host the 1976 Summer Games, it's a stake through the heart of Canada's other bid. Vancouver-Garibaldi worked for 10 years to bid on the Winter Games; this afternoon was to be their moment of glory. But the IOC is loath to give both games to the same country. As we see in this clip, in the race to get the Games one city's glory is always another city's grief. 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News Special
Production Date: May 11, 1970
Guest(s): Dave Barrett, Sid Young
Reporter: Ted Reynolds, Karen Larson
Duration: 3:35

Did You know?

• The candidate cities to host the 1976 Winter Olympics were:
- Denver, United States
- Sion, Switzerland
- Tampere, Finland
- Vancouver-Garibaldi, Canada

• Vancouver was eliminated in the first round of voting, receiving just nine votes. Tampere was eliminated next. Denver won the third round of voting with 39 votes to Sion's 30.

• In a stunning twist, the people of Denver turned down the Games later that year. Concerns were raised about the environmental impact and rising expected costs. In a November 1972 referendum state voters rejected the use of public funds to pay for installations for the Games, and Denver withdrew. The International Olympic Committee then asked Vancouver if it was interested in replacing Denver, but was turned down again.

• The IOC finally gave the games to Innsbruck, Austria, site of the 1964 Winter Games. Denver's rejection was the only time in history a winning host had rejected the Games. It was also a black eye for the IOC, which would never again consider a city with questionable local support.

• Many analysts had predicted the 1976 voting would go the other way -- that Vancouver-Garibaldi would win the winter games and Montreal would lose out.

• The Vancouver-Garibaldi loss, obviously related to Montreal's win, fuelled feelings of western alienation in Canada. Progressive Conservative Alberta MP Jack Horner told CBC Radio that once again Central Canada had snatched away an opportunity from Western Canada. He was sharply critical of Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau and despaired over the inevitable taxpayer burden the Montreal Olympics would bring to his constituents.

• Vancouver-Garibaldi bid once again for the 1980 Winter Olympics, and was once again frustrated. On Aug. 2, 1974, British Columbia's New Democratic government refused to support the bid, citing financial and environmental concerns and questioning figures provided by the bid committee. Bid boosters said the decision was based on ideological grounds, not factual. Without provincial support, the Games would have to be held on private lands.

• The Vancouver-Garibaldi bid for the 1980 Winter Games was withdrawn before the final IOC vote, leaving Lake Placid, United States, the sole contender and winner by acclamation. Vancouver did not bid again until 2003 when it won the 2010 Winter Olympics.

• The Garibaldi Olympic Development Association was formed in the 1960s to develop a site near Garibaldi Provincial Park that could bid on the Games. It led to the development of the Whistler resort, which opened for skiing in 1966.

• The name Garibaldi comes from the celebrated 19th-century Italian soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi. His military exploits in Europe and South America and his fervent nationalism are credited with making the 1870 unification of Italy possible.

• In recent years the IOC has not awarded both Summer and Winter Games to the same country. That happened in 1924 (France), 1932 (United States) and 1936 (Germany). The United States is the most frequent Olympic host, having held the Games eight times.


Getting the Games: Canada's Olympic Bids more