Calgary’s bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics is all but over after its citizens voted “no” in a plebiscite to determine whether or not to stage the event.
Because the referendum was non-binding, the fate of Calgary’s Olympic bid still rests with the 15-member city council, which meets on Monday to decide whether not to move forward.
However, the council is expected to bow to the will of the people. Additionally, the province of Alberta, in which Calgary is located, has previously said that it would withdraw its 700-million-Canadian-dollar (€470,000, $530,000) commitment should the “no” side win.
Those in favor of hosting the Olympics faced a hard sell to Calgary’s 1.24 million residents as the city would have been on the hook for 390 million Canadian dollars in order to host the event.
Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988 after three previous attempts failed in the 1960s and 70s. Montreal and Vancouver, which hosted the 1976 Summer and 2010 Winter Games respectively, are the only other Canadian cities to have held an Olympic Games.
The vote dealt another blow to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has seen interest in hosting the Games drop in recent years as the size and cost of hosting the Games has skyrocketed.
With Calgary seemingly out of the running, the only hosting options left for the 2026 Winter Games are the Swedish capital of Stockholm and Italy’s bid involving Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzo. Sion (Switzerland), Sapparo (Japan) and Graz (Austria) have all withdrawn their bids and Turkey’s Erzurum was eliminated from the bidding process last month.