Michael Edwards, best known as “Eddie the Eagle,” prepares to start on the ski jump tower in Calgary on March 5, 2017, 29 years after competing in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

‘Eddie the Eagle’ among Olympians cheering for a Calgary 2026 bid

Last week, the bid seemed all but dead as the federal, provincial and municipal governments wrangled over cost-sharing

A rally planned for today in favour of a Calgary bid for the 2026 Olympics will feature some familiar faces from the last time the city held the Games.

British ski-jumper Michael Edwards — better known as Eddie the Eagle — and 1988 mascots Hidy and Howdy are to be at a downtown convention centre for the event.

Canadian Olympians expected to attend include gold-medal sprinter Donovan Bailey and multi-medal-winning hockey player Cassie Campbell-Pascall.

Ice dancing duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who won gold at this year’s Winter Olympics, are to make an appearance by video.

The rally comes a week before a plebiscite on whether Calgary should bid for the 2026 Games.

READ MORE: Calgary 2026 Olympic Games bid survives city council vote

READ MORE: Bid details rolled out for Calgary 2026

A three-member grassroots group with no advertising money has been trying to push its anti-bid message without the same star power.

“Our group ‘No Calgary Olympics’ has always been focused on asking good questions and wanting Calgarians to have a full conversation about whether hosting the Olympics is the right thing for Calgary now,” said spokeswoman Erin Waite.

The group’s concerns include the cost of playing host, the transparency and ethics of the International Olympic Committee and what it sees as shortcomings in the bid process.

Opposing an Olympic bid isn’t a slight against Calgary, Waite said.

“We’re not doubters about Calgary’s initiative or capacity or enthusiasm for taking on big projects,” she said. ”It’s a matter of if it’s the right project now and what won’t we be able to do because we’re choosing the Olympics?”

She pointed to Calgary’s new $245-million Central Library, which opened to much fanfare last week.

“If that were on the books today, we would be choosing between the Olympics and doing a wonderful building like our new library that’s accessible to everybody.”

Last week, the bid seemed all but dead as the federal, provincial and municipal governments wrangled over cost-sharing. But they reached a deal late Tuesday and the bid survived a city council vote on Wednesday.

The bid has an estimated price tag of $5.1 billion. The province has said it would kick in $700 million of that and Ottawa would cover $1.4 billion. The city was asked to contribute $390 million, which includes $20 million for a $200-million insurance policy against cost overruns.

The remainder would be expected to come from ticket sales and other revenues.

Mary Moran, CEO of bid corporation Calgary 2026, has said the Olympics would mean a $4.4-billion investment coming into the city.

University of Alberta professor Stacy Lorenz, who studies the sociology and history of sports, questioned the rosy economic benefit forecasts.

It’s not surprising bid boosters are tugging at heartstrings by invoking past Olympic glory, he said.

“They are going to have to make an argument for civic pride and national identity, because if you look hard at the economics of it, that is not going to convince people to support the bid,” he said.

“Ultimately, people are going to have to decide if the positive feelings of all of that are worth the economic investment.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Teen sexually assaulted at Radley Beach

A sexual assault took place at Radley Beach in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Topley 4-H helps Landon

This year the Topley 4-H Club will be auctioning off a steer… Continue reading

4-H club to raise money for Houston teen

The Houston teen is fighting bone cancer

Repairing airport or losing medevac?

Council to be presented with choices in the coming months

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read