Canadian minister pushing for Calgary bid to hold Winter Games again: CBC

(Reuters) - Canada’s minister of sport is pushing for Calgary to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and said the legacy from the last time the western Canadian city hosted the Games was worth it, according to a CBC report on Friday.

Kent Hehr receives a standing ovation during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

At a time when many cities have pulled out of Olympics bids given concerns about massive costs, Canadian sports minister Kent Hehr told CBC he feels the 1988 Winter Games host would benefit from doing it again.

“I know an Olympic bid, deep in my heart, would be something that would be extraordinary,” Hehr said in the report. “But you have to balance it in a real way.

“We’re always excited when communities like Calgary are thinking about putting their hat in the ring about bringing the Olympic Games to this nation.”

Cities around the world are no longer clamoring to host an Olympics. Many in recent years have removed themselves from consideration, either scared off by the size and cost of the Games or pressured by local opposition.

Calgary’s city council recently voted to give C$1 million to continue research into bidding to host the 2026 Games. A bid exploration committee has estimated that staging the sporting extravaganza would come with a price tag of about C$4.6 billion.

According to Hehr, there was plenty of economic uncertainty in Calgary during the late 1970s and early 1980s and many people who did not want the city to host the Olympics.

“There were lots of naysayers around that as well,” Hehr told CBC. “But the legacy that was left, the opportunities it gave kids in the community to develop, I think were well worth the angst and the time.”

According to the CBC article, while Hehr feels an Olympics in Calgary would offer a sense of pride to all of Canada, he continues to maintain a balanced and measured approach.

“Of course you look at all of the possibilities and they’re exciting but you have to look at it in a real fashion. Do the numbers make sense too? Will this lead your community in a better place given all the intangibles surrounding the Olympic bid?”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Mark Heinrich