THUNDER BAY, ONT. — If it have been up to Canada’s Olympic curlers, the 2026 Winter Games can be in Calgary.
Many of this nation’s previous curling champions are all below one roof this week on the Grand Slam Tour Challenge tournament in Thunder Bay and they are speaking about getting the Games again on house soil.
“It would be awesome,” Kevin Martin mentioned. “It would be great to have it that close to home again.”
Martin is regarded as via many to be the most productive roller ever. Twice he represented Canada in North American Olympics — Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010. He basked in his golden second in Vancouver as Canadians broke out in a stirring rendition of “O Canada” within the packed enviornment right through the gold-medal recreation.
Martin says not anything ever got here shut to what he skilled at that house Olympics.
“You only get one chance in a lifetime to do that. It’s second to none,” he mentioned. “It’s expensive and Alberta’s economy isn’t great right now. But it would be wonderful if it happened.”
Next Tuesday, Calgarians will pass to the polls and vote in a plebiscite — a easy sure or no query as to whether or not or no longer they would like the 2026 Olympics.
Ben Hebert additionally performed in Vancouver with Martin, in addition to remaining yr’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang. He says he’ll be doing the entirety he can to persuade other folks to vote sure.
“I think it would be a great thing for Calgary, especially with oil and gas in the tank a bit. It would be a pick-me-up for the city,” Hebert mentioned.
Hebert says recreation has the power to rally a town, group and nation and issues to what came about in Vancouver right through the 2010 Olympics. He says he is felt that very same power in Calgary when the Flames get on a roll.
“When the Flames make the playoffs, the city is buzzing. I’ve been in Calgary for nine years now. I think the no voters, if the Olympics came, would be on cloud nine and supporting our athletes during the Games.”
Leaving a legacy
Jennifer Jones says her revel in whilst successful gold for Canada on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi is the spotlight of her profession.
“When you take that step on the podium, it felt like we were stepping onto the podium for all of Canada. You feel like you’re doing it for everyone who lives here,” she mentioned.
For as euphoric as stepping onto that golden podium used to be for Jones, she needs to center of attention at the legacy the Olympics in Calgary may depart.
“As a mom of two young kids, I would love to see the opportunities it could create for our youth,” Jones mentioned. “It makes dreams seem much more possible when it’s in your own backyard. It feels more real.”
Jones, who’s an Olympic, Canadian and international champion, says an Olympics in Canada would stay this nation aggressive in all wintry weather sports activities.
“It would be huge for sport in this country. It helps Canada keep up with the rest of the world in terms of performance. And more than anything, it helps our youth have those dreams to shoot for, which is a big part of all of this.”
Canada’s 1st Olympic curlers beef up bid
Curling used to be reintroduced to the Olympic program in 1998 on the Nagano Olympics. The recreation has exploded in reputation since that point.
Joan McCusker used to be the lead for Sandra Schmirler’s group that captured Canada’s first gold medal on the Olympics. Ever since then, McCusker has travelled to the Winter Games as a commentator.
She’s been paying shut consideration to the talk in Calgary and is hoping the town votes to transfer ahead within the procedure.
“There’s a lot to consider. It’s a big financial investment but you have to believe in the reward. I think it’s going to pass,” McCusker mentioned of Tuesday’s vote.
Mike Harris used to be additionally in Nagano. He received a silver medal in 1998 and has additionally been a part of curling protection on the Olympics over time.
Harris understands other folks’s apprehension over webhosting the Olympics.
“Now that I’m older and I’ve been to a bunch of Games, I can see how it can be costly to a country if it’s not planned properly,” Harris mentioned. “As a Canadian, I’d love to see them host but I understand the caution.”
The bid committee nonetheless hasn’t defined the place curling can be hosted if the Olympics have been in Calgary in 2026, however McCusker says the site does not in point of fact topic when it comes to the recognition of the game in Canada.
“Curling would do really, really well and a big arena to play in would be fantastic. It would be packed.”