Dubi Pitches 2026 to Calgary Public

(ATR) Christophe Dubi was invited to speak in Calgary about the process of bidding for the 2026 Olympics.

(ATR) IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi was invited to speak by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce to discuss the city’s nascent Olympic bid.

Calgary signed on in March as one of the cities to take part in the IOC’s new dialogue phase to learn more about the 2026 Olympic bidding cycle. Since then, the city council has appointed a chair of the city’s bid corporation, and agreed to organize a plebiscite on the project around November in exchange for provincial money.

That money will be used as part of a $22.8 million (CAN$30 million) budget for the bid, which is split between federal, provincial, and local governments. Last week the city council approved an additional $3.9 million (CAN$5.1 million) to pay for public engagement ahead of the plebiscite.

"This is a project that makes sense," Dubi said during the speaking engagement. "And you have the best organizers. You have in COC a partner of the highest caliber, and the results that you have with your athletes is not for no good reason, it’s because of hard work and dedication and the same goes to event organizing."

Dubi’s answers emphasized that should the Calgary plebiscite fail, as "has happened in the past" with other Olympic cities, the IOC would move on with the other candidates. However, the IOC was still there to offer any expertise through the dialogue phase.

The IOC will have to decide before the 2018 Youth Olympic Games if Calgary will stay in the 2026 bid race. At the 2018 IOC Session in Buenos Aires the list of candidate cities for the candidature phase will be released. The 2026 Winter Olympics host will be decided at the 2019 IOC Session.

Since the dialogue phase began Sion, Switzerland and Graz, Austria have withdrawn from the 2026 bid race. Voters in Sion rejected the Olympics, and Graz pulled the plug with a referendum looming. Both Graubünden, Switzerland and Innsbruck, Austria had bids sunk by referendums before the dialogue phase began.

Representatives from both grassroots organizations that have sprung up in the city ahead of the plebiscite, "Yes Calgary 2026" and "No Calgary Olympics", attended the meeting. Local media were invited to the event and had the opportunity to speak with Dubi after the panel discussion.

"At the end of the day, any deal that we get will be a deal that we want," Scott Hutcheson, chair of the Calgary 2026 BidCo, said at the event. "If we don’t want that deal we won’t proceed forward with it but the IOC will work with us on all issues. The whole process is one of interaction between them and us.

"So the public will be able to vote on all the information that’s transparent and available to them and have a say on whether this suits their needs and what Calgary looks like in 2026."

Written by Aaron Bauer

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