IOC rejects calls to support Calgary 2026 project with more cash

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected calls for it to cover a funding shortfall for the CAD $5.23bn (USD $4bn) Calgary 2026 Winter Olympics project.

The city, which hosted the Games in 1988, has already received a provincial commitment of CAD $700 million for the project and expects a further maximum contribution of CAD $1.5 billion from federal coffers leaving a gap that the city must fill.

Some members of the Calgary city council as well as Alberta premier Rachel Notley have suggested the IOC could offer more financial support as it seeks to shore up the number of candidates bidding for the Games.

“The IOC has committed (USD) $925 million,” (CAD $1.2bn) said IOC executive director Christophe Dubi at a press conference in Calgary. “This is what we can commit at this point in time, which is a significant contribution.”

Dubi tried to reassure the city that there would be no cost overruns should Calgary succeed in winning the bid. Speaking by the side of Calgary’s sliding track, a legacy venue from the 1988 Games, he said the fact the city already had the infrastructure in place would keep costs down.

“Here, you have it all,” Dubi said. “You have the expertise, you have the experience, you have regular hosting and you have the venues.

“You have a team that’s been extremely detailed in its work and that gives you safety about the cost because the numbers they (have) now are not made up.”

Calgary faces potential bids from Stockholm, which still needs national and city government approvals, and a joint bid by Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzo which faces a similar hurdle.

Calgary will hold a non-binding plebiscite on 13 November to test resident interest in hosting the 2026 Winter Games.