15 Nov 2018

Calgary says no to Winter Olympics

6:34 am on 15 November 2018

Calgary's hopes of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics have been dasheed with citizens voting resoundingly against a plan to bid for the Games.

More than 56 percent of voters said 'No' in the referendum, a surprisingly lopsided margin after both sides had expected a close call in the city which hosted the 1988 Winter Games.

After witnessing a high turnout, with more than 304,000 ballots cast in a reflection of the interest in the poll, the unofficial results had 132,832 opting 'For' and 171,750 'Against' Calgary making a bid to host the Games.

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Photo: Photosport

The outcome was another blow for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has seen interest in hosting Games fall dramatically as the size and cost of staging the multi-sport event has sky-rocketed.

The Calgary vote leaves Sweden's Stockholm and an Italian bid involving Milan and Cortina D'Ampezzo as the only candidates left in the race.

While the Calgary vote was non-binding, the city council is expected to respect the outcome when it meets next week to decide whether to move the bid process forward.

Beijing is hosting the next Winter Games in 2022.