The Winter Olympics: C is for Calgary, Cost and Clara
Last week, Sarah Rieger reported on CBC News that Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi along with other officials from Calgary, Canmore and the federal and provincial governments were in Pyeongchang as part of the Winter Olympics Observer Program.
“The program is a unique opportunity to experience the Games firsthand to learn how we could host a successful Games in Calgary – if we pursue a bid,” Nenshi said in a statement.
The program is estimated to have cost $135,000, split between Calgary, Canmore and the provincial and federal governments.
These costs are simply to find out whether or not it might be worthwhile to put in a bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Current estimates show that it would cost Calgary only around $4.6 billion to host the games. I say “only” because, as stated by The Associated Press in mid-December and reiterated by Money Talks News, it cost about $12.9 billion for South Korean, to host this year’s Winter Olympics. A good chunk of those funds went toward transportation from the capital to Pyeongchang. There was also the cost of building six new venues and refurbishing six others. To get athletes and spectators to venues there is a brand new $3.7 billion express train running from Seoul to Pyeongchang.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Calgary would have to build a new railway, but there would obviously be huge costs associated with hosting the games. So, I have a suggestion. Instead of committing billions of dollars, why not buck the trend and have a low-cost Olympics. We could re-cycle all the old equipment, there’s lots of it sitting idle in the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and located at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. I also notice Sport Chek has weekly deals on winter accessories.
I know there would be a need to have more venues because there are some events that weren’t included in 1988 such as Women’s ice hockey. But, there are places available.
Cochrane has a wonderful facility at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, which has 3 ice hockey arenas and a fourth arena off site. The Curling Centre features six regulation sheets of ice plus three junior sheets of ice.
If they got really stuck for space, there’s Mitford Pond, where, this year, 56 teams played in the Kimmett Cup Pond Hockey Tournament.
I’m sure accommodations wouldn’t be a problem, those Airbnb’s are springing up all over the place. As for sponsors, well, I suggest they contact No Frills, Budget Car Rentals and the Dollar Stores that could donate all the bunting and flags they have left over after the previous year’s Canada Day. Tickets should be cheaper too, so that more people could attend the events. How about a dollar a seat and promote it as “A Buck A Butt.”
Anyway, that’s all hypothetical, we don’t even know if Calgary will decide to bid.
In the meantime, I hope, like me, you all enjoyed the sports and followed our wonderful Olympians and Paralympians.
If you’re wondering why athletes put themselves through all those years of training and sacrifice. It’s in the hope that one day it will pay off, and they’ll get to experience something that most of us never will. That sentiment is perfectly expressed in the words of a friend of mine:
“I still can’t believe I won the Olympics. That’s what I feel right now – completely alive as a human being. It’s a really beautiful moment.” – Clara Hughes
Go Canada Go!!!!!!!
© 2018 Martin Parnell