Former police chief Rick Hanson named to Calgary Olympic bid committee

Former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson will chair a 17-member Calgary Bid Exploration Committee, which will provide a report to city council by July 2017.

17-member committee will provide report to city council by July 2017

Calgary hosted the Olympics in 1988 and has launched a bid committee to look at hosting them again in 2026. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson will chair a 17-member Calgary Bid Exploration Committee,  looking into the feasibility of a Calgary bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

An interim report is due in January 2017 and a final report in July 2017, said Hanson.

"Our goal is to collect all the best possible information, in collaboration with the community, to see if it makes good sense to bid on the 2026 games," he said.

"Once we present our findings to city council, council will make a decision to proceed with an Olympic and Paralympic bid or not."

The committee includes a number of business and community leaders along with former Olympians, including:

  • Rod McKay
  • Becky Scott
  • Patrick Jarvis
  • Laurie Stretch
  • Sheila McIntosh
  • Chris Lee
  • Catriona Le May Doan
  • Irfhan Rawji
  • Dale Henwood
  • Patti Pon
  • Wilton Littlechild
  • Gene Edworthy
  • Sue Riddell Rose
  • Maureen Killoran
  • Scott Thon
  • Karen Ball

There will also be three non-voting committee members:

  • Doug Mitchell (honorary chair)
  • Kurt Hanson
  • Chima Nkemdirim​
Former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson was named Monday as the chair of an Olympic bid exploration committee. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

In June, city council approved $5 million for the study.

Hanson said the committee won't simply "rubber stamp" a bid.

"Through this exploration, we want see if a uniquely Calgary Games is possible, a model that is focused on building community and supporting athletes while also being very cost effective," he said.

"Our next steps will include developing working relationships with key stakeholders, including facility owners, neighbouring communities, sports federations, and others."

The report must also answer questions like, "Will it build community? Will it build athletics? What will be the legacy?" said Hanson.

The group will create a master hosting plan, looking at what kind of capital investment will be needed along with what level of funding from the three levels of government.

Lot of excitement, potential

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi visited Rio during the recent Olympic Games in Brazil where he "did in fact talk to someone in charge of candidate cities about what a Calgary bid would look like."

"Certainly there was a lot of excitement about Calgary and the potential there," said Nenshi.

A recent Angus Reid survey found 55 per cent of Albertans support hosting the Games once again.

Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988 and Nenshi has said many of the facilities will be refurbished or reused should this bid move forward.

Catriona Le May Doan may be an Olympic champion but she promises not to be a sports booster on the committee.

"We'll go in with an open mind and look at the options and look at what is truly best for this city," Le May Doan said.

"I moved here 28 years ago for sport and I'm raising my children here so, I want them to have a city that's going to be in a good position for them to succeed. I am not just looking at it from a sport side or selfish side. I am looking at it from the next generation and what we can do to help grow this city."

The International Olympic Committee will name the host city of the 2026 Winter Games in 2019.