News / Calgary

CalgaryNEXT, Airport transit on the table for MRU mock Olympic bid

Students make Olympic pitch in front of Calgary Bid Exploration Committee Members and other big names

Fans cheer and wave flags as the Canadian delegation (lower right) parades during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games 13 February 1988 in Calgary.

AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN UTZ/Getty Images

Fans cheer and wave flags as the Canadian delegation (lower right) parades during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games 13 February 1988 in Calgary.

There’s already been an Olympic bid for 2026 in Calgary, it assumes that a new stadium is already built, and centres around the West Village.

But this bid wasn’t a city affair, it was built around the tireless work of 27 students all taking part in the Facility and Event Managment class at Mount Royal University.

On Wednesday, in front of a stakeholder-studded crowd, the mock Olympic Bid Committee launched into their bid presentation, centering around sustainability and inclusiveness.

“Our bid book is a condensed version of other bid books,” said student Tayler Delannoy. “We really just scratched the surface of it, we’re presenting a lot of really creative ideas.”

These include turning the Nordic Centre into an Olympic Village, a new venue for the ski jump and assuming CalgaryNEXT will be constructed in the city’s West Village.

“For an Olympic bid, if there was one that would go through, I think it would really support the CalgaryNEXT project being completed,” Delannoy said. “It would be a great facility for the Olympic Games and it would be a great facility after the Olympics as well, just in the trend of sustainability.”

Students had presenters discuss the anatomy of a bid from each possible angle, including Ken King, who told them the current state of the Saddledome, how it would need to be upgraded and, of course, the CalgaryNEXT pitch.

Catriona Le May Doan (Left) and Susan Auch (Right) of Canada nibble on their gold and silver medals from women's 500-metre speed skating event at the Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

Canadian Press

Catriona Le May Doan (Left) and Susan Auch (Right) of Canada nibble on their gold and silver medals from women's 500-metre speed skating event at the Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

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Delannoy said he hopes the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) members, some who attended the presentation, will consider their plan when they look at entertaining a bid in Calgary later this year.

Among the judges eyeing the mock bid was two-time gold medal speed skater Catriona Le May Doan.

“It’s great that people are engaged, not just in sport,” Le May Doan said. Outside of the sport world she said people are finally seeing the games are much more complex and include intricate plans for transit, arts and culture and the legacy it’s leaving behind.

“What was done back in the 80s was not necessarily sustainable, but we as a community should be proud because we’re the only winter city that uses every single Olympic facility.”

She said it’s huge to have names like Frank King, the force behind the 1988 Olympics, watching as the MRU students and as part of the CBEC board she’s excited for the conversation that she called “inspired.”

Behind the class is professor David Legg who has had six iterations of a similarly modeled course for events like the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic games, the X Games and Commonwealth Games.

He said this time students have really been able to hang their hat on the momentum of the city’s own look at hosting the Olympics again.

“This year it took on a very different feel,” said Legg. “I told them ‘this could be the start of your career.’”

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