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Basking in the afterglow of the Calgary Olympics

The Story


It seems the most powerful man in Olympics can't get enough of Calgary. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has returned a year later to commemorate the first anniversary of the 1988 Winter Games. "They were the best games that I presided," Samaranch tells CBC Radio. Calgary Mayor Ralph Klein welcomes the remark and points to the legacy of great sports facilities, a spirit of goodwill and even a profit left behind by the Games. 

Medium: Radio
Program: The Inside Track
Broadcast Date: Feb. 19, 1989
Guest(s): Ralph Klein, Juan Antonio Samaranch
Reporter: Tom Spear
Duration: 8:56

Did You know?


• When asked to describe the 1988 Winter Games, Calgary Mayor Ralph Klein told CBC Radio that " he didn't feel pregnant."
• Ralph Klein's remark was a direct reference to the 1976 Games when Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau boasted that the 1976 Montreal Summer Games would be the first "self-financing" Olympics. Then Drapeau made his infamous remark that "the Montreal Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby." Montreal Games would run a debt of $1.5 billion.

• Ralph Klein said that the 1988 Games made Calgary an international city. "After the Games, you no longer had to explain where the city was." (Maclean's 1992)
• The 1988 Calgary Games was a financial success and made a profit of $76 million.

• The 1988 Games resulted in an impressive array of sports facilities worth $300 million. These include the ski jumping facilities at Canada Olympic Park (Canada's only Olympic-scale bobsled and luge run), the Olympic Oval (speed skating) at the University of Calgary, the Olympic Saddledome (home of the Calgary Flames), the impressive cross-country ski facility at Canmore (100 kilometres west of Calgary) and the spectacular Nakiska Alpine skiing centre built around Mount Allan.

• Some sports facilities, such as the Olympic speed skating oval which attracts 10,000 visitors per week, have been very popular. Other facilities, such as the ski jumps at Olympic Park, have mostly sat idle. It has not been used competitively since the 1988 Games due to high winds that pose a risk to ski jumpers.


More

The Calgary Olympics: The Winter of '88 more