Special Olympics Canada is pleased to announce Calgary, Alberta as the host of its next Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in 2024.
“Calgary is proud to have been chosen as host city for the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games 2024,” said Calgary Mayor, Jyoti Gondek. “We look forward to sharing our great facilities and our inclusive community spirit will welcome all with open arms. I know Calgarians will volunteer in great numbers to ensure that this event delivers the experience of a lifetime for these amazing athletes and their families.”
While it marks the fourth time Alberta will host a Special Olympics Canada National Games, the growing city of Calgary also boasts a history of highly successful events as the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympics, and recently hosted the Special Olympics Alberta Winter Provincial Games in 2019.
“Having previously hosted international and national events, we know Calgary will go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional Games experience for the hundreds of athletes participating at Special Olympics Canada’s signature sport competition,” says Special Olympics Canada CEO Sharon Bollenbach. “Our athletes have been anxiously waiting for an announcement of the next National Games since February of 2020. To say they will be ecstatic to hear the news of Special Olympics Canada Winter Games 2024 in Calgary is an understatement.”
According to Blair McIntosh, Special Olympics Canada’s VP Sport, Calgary submitted a strong bid focused on “the care and comfort of our athletes.”
“The bid was centred on the concept of showcasing the Games in the heart of the city,” says McIntosh. “This will not only be a great opportunity for our athletes to experience all that Calgary has to offer but will also place our athletes in the heart of the community, where we can witness inclusion in full affect.”
Catriona Le May Doan, a member of Special Olympics Canada’s Board of Directors and President & CEO of Sport Calgary, looks forward to welcoming everyone for the event.
“The sport community in Calgary looks forward to celebrating the hard work of the athletes, coaches and officials and hearing their stories. Calgary is a city with strong commitment to providing diverse opportunities in sport to individuals of all abilities. Sport connects us all and we’re excited to bring this amazing event to our city.”
As hundreds of Special Olympics athletes prepare to qualify for the opportunity to compete on the national stage, CEO of Tourism Calgary, Cindy Ady, proudly accepts the challenge of maintaining Calgary’s record of excellence as a host city.
“Calgary knows what it takes to host large scale sporting events and just as important is our track record as ultimate hosts. The incredible athletes, along with family, friends, supporters, coaches and officials can all expect a warm welcome to our city and a fun- filled event complete with the chance to experience Calgary’s new winter festival, Chinook Blast.”
Calgary will welcome approximately 1,300 participants for the Games along with officials, honoured guests and many friends and family. Tourism Calgary expects the event to have an economic impact of more than $9 million into the local economy.
The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games is a national sporting event for Canadian athletes with an intellectual disability. To compete, each athlete must qualify at their local and Provincial/Territorial levels before moving on to compete in one of 8 sports featured at the Winter Games, which includes 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.
The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024 will be the qualifying event for athletes to represent Special Olympics Team Canada at the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2025.
ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS CANADA
Established in 1974, the Canadian chapter of this global movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 Provincial and Territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 41,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada.
For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @SpecialOCanada.
ABOUT TOURISM CALGARY
Tourism Calgary is the official destination management organization for Calgary's tourism industry. For more than 60 years, the organization’s primary purpose has been to promote Calgary and area as the destination of choice. With a vision of making Calgary the ultimate host city, Tourism Calgary markets the city locally, nationally, and internationally and advocates for its ongoing development as a destination. The organization hosts and attracts visitors and events and activates the city by fostering the growth of shareable, memorable experiences. Pre-pandemic,
Calgary’s tourism industry contributed approximately $2.5 billion in visitor spending by over 7 million visitors annually. For more information about Tourism Calgary, please visit www.visitcalgary.com or follow @tourismcalgary on social channels.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:
Karen Cinq Mars
Vice President, Marketing & Communications Special Olympics Canada
416 709 -7568
Manager, Communications Tourism Calgary