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

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Liquor store robbery suspect arrested

The Comox Valley RCMP have identified the suspect in relation to the… Continue reading

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Most Read