Sad to see Olympic rejection

My Nikkel's worth column

I was saddened when the news of the civic vote in Calgary came through, with 56 per cent of Calgarians voting “no” to hosting the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
I don’t usually follow the happenings in Calgary, but this particular vote caught my eye because I lived for a few years in Calgary, and was there during the 1988 Winter Olympics.
I realize Calgary, and really Canada as a whole, has changed a fair bit since 1988, including in the economy, which may have played a large factor in dissuading the voters of today to turn down a prime opportunity to host the world once again.
But I also believe that it was a bit myopic to turn down the Olympics. My colleague here in the newsroom, April, is too young to remember the ‘88 Olympics, but she is from Calgary, and her family lives there — and both she and her dad were particularly unhappy with the way the vote went.
I was a bit surprised that she disagreed with the generation slightly older than her, who she believes were the ones who mostly swayed the vote to 56 per cent against, but I think her father was able to inform her of why he supported Calgary hosting the Olympics for a second time. She feels they did not truly understand what the real benefits are of hosting the Olympics, and I have to agree.
The long-term benefits of having the Winter Olympics would have been worth the short-term pains of paying for new facilities, not to mention the huge injection of cash and tourism as the world literally comes to the doorstep and fills the hotels and athletes village with visitors.
As I recall when I lived in Calgary in 1988, there were not only some serious injections of cash to the city from the visitors, but there was a whole cultural component to the event, as I was able to meet people from around the world almost everywhere I went.
I had the benefit, as a journalism student at SAIT, of being recruited by Kodak to work in their photo lab in the Main Press Centre for the Olympics, so that gave me access I wouldn’t have had otherwise. As a student, I couldn’t have afforded to go to any of the events, but with an access pass courtesy of Kodak, I was able to see some events, like the luge, figure skating, a hockey game, and the rodeo event held as a cultural event for world visitors.
This is part of what the current residents of Calgary will be missing out on: the excitement of the competition, the medal presentations downtown in Olympic Plaza, and the fireworks show that was held every single night of the Olympics, not to mention being able to meet visitors from every participating country, and then having the legacy of new facilities afterward.

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