2026 Winter Olympic Bid Consultants Line Up

(ATR) Calgary's potential 2026 bid already has 17 consultants on board despite the IOC’s push to limit their role.

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 6: A general view of the exterior of the Scotiabank Saddledome with the Calgary skyline behind prior to the Flames' home opening NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks during at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 6, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 6: A general view of the exterior of the Scotiabank Saddledome with the Calgary skyline behind prior to the Flames' home opening NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks during at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 6, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

(ATR) The potential Calgary 2026 bid already has 17 consultants on board, despite the IOC’s push to limit their role and cut costs in the bidding race.

As of Tuesday, 23 consultants have signed up to the register – 17 for the Calgary bid and six for Stockholm. But there are no consultants so far registered for Graz (Austria), Milan-Turin and Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy), Sapporo (Japan), Sion (Switzerland) or Erzurum (Turkey).

Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi tells Around the Rings that the 2026 consultants rules are the same as for the 2024 contest. He said "all principles apply to the dialogue stage", requiring consultants to add their names to the register even before the candidature phase launching in October.

Dubi insisted he wasn’t surprised at the lack of consultants support for the remaining bids. The two Italian entries and Erzurum joined the 2026 contest late and are only now equipping themselves to advance their bids.

"What it reflects is the fact that with the IOC providing a lot of guidance and assistance it means that a lot of technical expertise that was required before is no longer always necessary. This is an evolution we see here," he said.

"It is a lot of additional duties [for the IOC] but we really feel it pays off."

Six consultants for the Calgary bid have been added to the register in the past week, perhaps reflecting the city’s need to get its Olympic quest back on track after a bumpy start. The bid has survived multiple votes to stay in the 2026 Winter Olympics race, with another council vote due next month.

Of the 17 consultants for the Canadian bid, six are companies and include M3 Development Management, which operates in the development and construction sector.

The most notable name supporting Stockholm’s bid is M, which provided strategic and communications assistance to the Budapest 2024 Summer Olympic bid two years ago.

"M has provided initial support in terms of international communications," a spokesperson told ATR of M’s role for the 2026 Swedish bid."The senior lead [Jim Curley] has specific and direct experience having worked in Sweden before which is why both parties are exploring a potential advisory role going forward".

Under 2026 bidding rules, consultants and lobbyists must sign up showing their commitment to comply with the IOC’s code of ethics and rules of bidding conduct.

It aims to make the role of consultants more transparent in Olympic bidding, while increasing the IOC’s vigilance of those attempting to gain advantage by breaching ethics rules.

The IOC website says only those individuals or companies chosen by an NOC or city to support their bid can register.

The IOC threatens to punish consultants who breach its rules and regulations, vowing to "take measures and/or sanction, including the withdrawal from the register".

The seven bidders were announced by the IOC on April 3 as part of the dialogue phase of its revamped bidding process.

The IOC executive board will decide in October which cities to put through to the final, one-year candidature phase of the bidding race.

The host city vote takes place at the IOC Session in Milan in September 2019.

Reported by Mark Bisson

25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.