The Montréal Olympic Games of 1976 produced some of the greatest moments in sports history.
American Ed Moses powered to his first 400m hurdles gold and launched a legend in front of a passionate crowd in the ground-breaking Olympic Stadium, while nearby on the Olympic Park, teenage Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci’s flawless performances and sparkling personality won her seven Perfect 10s, three gold medals and hearts everywhere.
Montréal never forgets its Olympic heritage, or the stars who made 1976 so memorable, and in 2017, Comaneci returned to the city and the rejuvenated Olympic Park when a new plaza was named in her honour.
Passion for sports
The gesture was typical of a city in love with sport. Canada’s second largest city is not simply home to one of the most iconic teams in any sport – the NHL’s Montréal Canadiens – but is a world class host for a range of national and international sports events every year.
While Montréal’s passion for sports hasn’t changed since 1976, the city and its infrastructure certainly have.
Many of the facilities created for the ’76 Games have been updated and upgraded, while new venues have been added to a wide-ranging portfolio that now includes the Bell Center (home to the Canadiens), the Olympic Park aquatics centre (upgraded to meet the highest Fina standards) and the IGA Stadium, which hosts numerous sporting and special events including the Rogers Cup, a WTA Tour and ATP Tour Masters 1000 event.
Then, of course, there’s also the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the Parc Jean-Drapeau, the host venue of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. Long viewed as a gem by Montrealers, the Parc Jean-Drapeau offers a multitude of facilities and recreational opportunities just minutes away from downtown Montréal.
These and a range of other facilities have made Montréal a popular host city among governing bodies of sports ranging from skating and aquatics to athletics and combat sports.
And a city that never stands still moves with the sporting times and is a thriving hub for urban sports thanks to facilities including the Vans Skatepark on the Esplanade at Olympic Park. This year alone the city has hosted the Fiba 3×3 basketball World Tour, climbing’s Psicobloc Open Series and skateboarding’s Vans Park Series Pro Tour and action sports festival Jackalope.
But facilities alone are never enough to create a world class sports city; the human element plays a vital role. In this respect, Montréal’s vast hosting experience has created a reservoir of planning and management talent to help sports federations maximise the value and impact of their key events.
They can be confident in the knowledge they and their athletes will receive the warmest of welcomes and maximum support in a city with sport in its DNA.