November 19, 2018 / 6:37 PM / 22 days ago

Olympics: Calgary bid for 2026 Games officially laid to rest

(Reuters) - Calgary’s pursuit of the 2026 Winter Olympics was officially laid to rest on Monday when the city council voted unanimously to kill the bid after the majority of residents sent a clear message that they had no interest in hosting the Games.

The vote by the 15-member Calgary city council was a mere formality after 56.4 percent of voters in a non-binding plebiscite last Tuesday gave a thumbs down to the 2026 Olympics.

The bid had been on thin ice even before the plebiscite with the city council having narrowly voted last month to proceed with the process and take it to a community referendum.

Even though the plebiscite was non-binding there were no last-ditch efforts to rescue the plan as the council unanimously accepted the verdict and shut down the bid to bring the Winter Olympics back to the western Canadian city that hosted the Games in 1988.

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 Stockholm and an Italian bid involving Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo as the only candidates left in the race.

Swiss city Sion, Japan’s Sapporo and Graz in Austria all withdrew earlier this year, while Turkey’s Erzurum was last month eliminated from the bidding process by the IOC, which will select the winning bid in June 2019.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Clare Fallon

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