Olympics: Calgary gets government support for possible 2026 bid

(Reuters) - The western Canadian city of Calgary moved one step closer to bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics on Thursday as the federal and provincial governments announced their support for the creation of a bid corporation.

A bid, if successful, would be the fourth Winter Olympics held in Canada and the first in Calgary since 1988.

“Today is a very important step forward for the city of Calgary and for our collective efforts as we thoroughly assess the opportunity and impact of hosting an Olympic Games,” Chris Overholt, chief executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement.

According to the Department of Canadian Heritage, a bid corporation “will continue the development of hosting plans and a fully costed event budget that will inform a bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Calgary”.

The Italian Olympic Committee has put forward a proposal to stage the 2026 Olympics jointly in Milan and Turin.

Sion in Switzerland and Stockholm have also expressed interest in the Games as well as cities from Austria and the United States, among others.

The International Olympic Committee session in October will invite candidates to bid formally, with a final decision on hosting rights to be taken in September, 2019.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond