When the Olympics roll around every four years, it's always a great time to celebrate being Canadian and cheer on the nation's athletes. With the last Canadian-hosted Olympic games now a long 8 years past, the talks of Calgary seeing the sporting event in 2026 had many excited. But, there were just as many people against it as well.
As of this morning, it looks like the debate has come to an end after 56.4% of Calgary voted 'no' to the Olympics. Meaning unless Calgary's city council is really looking to ruffle some feathers, their bid most likely will dissolve. Now while many may be disappointed that they won't be seeing Canadians raking in gold at home, it's not necessarily a bad thing that Calgary is pulling itself out of the bidding race.
Every four years, host cities constantly go back and forth between news coverage about the widespread excitement and the problematic consequences of hosting the Olympics. Be it related to their infrastructures, affected communities as a result of the games or general tension, it's clear that hosting the Olympics isn't all fun and games. It also ends up costing host cities a lot more money than they bargained for.
In a perfect world, hosting the Olympics results in local businesses thriving from the tourism spike, creating massive new multi-purpose buildings, and an overall swell in the economy for the hosting area and its locals.
The reality is that the Olympics is an extremely costly event that almost never gets host cities the return they are looking for as a result of sinking millions into new facilities and sporting arenas. Instead, they are left with numerous empty buildings once the final medals are doled out, millions of dollars in debt and a tourism attraction nobody is interested in anymore once the event wraps up.
It's clear that Canadians were well versed on that reality considering the results of a poll that Narcity took earlier in the week:
When it comes to Calgarians, a woman we spoke to claimed that the city itself is actually quite "split" as "some believe it will be great for the economy," while others believe it could do more harm than good. She also says that many students "aren't especially interested in the debate at all" while larger brands are really pushing in an attempt to bring the games to Calgary.
In reality, cities looking to successfully host the Olympics need more than just the flashy bid they use to entice the Olympic committee. They need serious current or impending revenue streams as well as concrete plans for the aftermath if they want to not end up like hosting spots such as Sochi and Rio. Even with concrete action plans, cities are never guaranteed they'll come out of the Olympics a better city than they had been before.
While only 304,774 of 767,734 eligible voters in Calgary actually voted, the majority 'no' vote will most likely result in the council packing up the campaign and moving on.
The Vancouver Olympics is a fond memory for most Canadians to look back on and is, in contrast to other cities, a relatively successful story. To assume Calgary could easily do the same would be naive.
Source: Huffington Post