On November 13th our city did a mirror check, a gut-check. We collectively looked ourselves in the mirror and answered the question, whether or not Calgary should prepare a bid to pursue hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics. In my view, it was a no-brainer – keep going, build a bid, stay in the competitive game and hopefully win the thing. I realized there were ‘NO’ forces at work but I thought they were in the minority, or rather I thought the majority of Calgarians would enthusiastically champion a second chance to transform this city as it was for Vancouver just recently and for Calgary before in 1988.
The morning after cometh …
Those who didn’t vote at all, those who voted YES but not insufficient numbers now get to look in a different mirror, the rearview mirror. It all, while fresh, is immediately history. It would be so easy to kick ourselves and look over our collective shoulders to see ‘what might have been’. We should resist that with every effort, turning instead to the view ahead.
The view in front of us, to chart a future which is ‘made in Calgary’ without the attendant strings of other orders of government – to choose for ourselves, build for ourselves and create for ourselves.
We don’t need a YES vote to have a point of view, a belief in the future and a desire to put our ideas and labour to work – to make a better city, to make a better future. Hosting a winter Olympics, as our city learned in 1988, is a great way to legacy-build in terms of spirit and facilities. It is not the only way. For now, sadly, the Calgary electorate have balked. City Council have bungled. Two other levels of government have fumbled.
Who picks up the ball now? You? Me? Everyone? Anyone?
Anyone can. Let us not move into the future with an attitude that no one will.
Swifter, higher, stronger is just a slogan – meaningless unless you choose to own those words and live by them. Olympians do.