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Wednesday October 31, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

In a dramatic vote city councillors decided to press on with a bid to host the 2026 Games. It followed an 11th hour financial deal.


Councillors voted 8-7 in favour of approving a recommendation to end the bid.

However it fell short of the 10 votes needed for the motion to pass and the bid to be terminated.

It means a referendum on November 13th will go ahead and so a final decision will be made by the public.

"The Calgary 2026 team and the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to get to where we are today can walk away with their heads held high knowing they fought hard for what would have been a life-changing legacy for this city," said the Calgary 2026 chairman Scott Hutcheson to the meeting.

"If the plebiscite is cancelled today by your vote, your legacy will be much a different one.

"Alternatively, if you let the plebiscite proceed, you'll be allowing the spirits of Calgarians to speak and that is how history will reflect this moment."

There were passionate arguments from both sides with the mayor, Naheed Nenshi, one of those to vote against ending the bid.

Supporters of the bid gathered outside chanting "let us vote".

Earlier in the week the Calary Olympic Assessment Committee recommended the bid end and it was thought to be the final nail in the coffin of the bid.

However a last minute financial deal was brokered between the federal and provincial government and the city.

We reported on it here:
Innsbruck in Austria and Sion in Switzerland both held a referendum and the people rejected hosting the Games. Two other cities remain in the bidding process - Stockholm in Sweden and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina.

Neither have political backing and there are serious concerns about their viability.

It would be a severe blow for the International Olympic Committee if the Calagary referendum result rejects the 2026 Games, but today the IOC will breathe a collective sigh of relief.

With a real chance that the Swedish and Italian bids could fall then there is the prospect that none of the bidding cities will be left when a decision is set to be made next year.

Contingency plans are being looked at.

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