Mary Moran has been named the chief executive of the Calgary 2026 bid team ©Calgary 2026

Mary Moran, current President of Calgary Economic Development, has been named as the chief executive of Calgary's bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

She was introduced at a press event today at the Canada Olympic Park, which was used to stage the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary.

Moran is the first woman to be named head of a Canadian Olympic bid and to make time for her new role, she will take a leave of absence from her position at Calgary Economic Development.

She is due to officially start her new role on August 13 and will be in charge of promoting Calgary's ambitions to host the Games in 2026 as no official bid has been submitted yet to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"It is an absolute gift to have the opportunity to marry my passion for business and sport in order to contribute and make a difference to the city, province and country that I care deeply about," said Moran. 

"I truly believe we have an incredible opportunity ahead to build off the successes of our rich Olympic legacy in order to shape a brighter future for our next generation of community leaders, but we must do the critical analysis work first to ensure it makes sense."

A referendum is scheduled for later this year to gauge public opinion for Calgary hosting the Winter Olympics once again.

A prospective Olympic city has not won such a vote since Oslo in 2013, although that bid for the 2022 Games eventually collapsed anyway a year later.

Moreover, there are reportedly tensions between the City Council and Federal Government, regarding a supposed lack of commitment from the latter to fund the bid.

Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart has reportedly sent a warning message to both the Federal and Provincial Governments, in remarks shortly after a Council meeting.

"If they are interested and serious about Calgary being committed to this process, then now's the time for them to step up in a timely manner and respond to many of the things that we need answers to," she said.

IOC executive director Christophe Dubi visited Calgary last week to try and encourage the city to bid ©Twitter/Calgary Chamber
IOC executive director Christophe Dubi visited Calgary last week to try and encourage the city to bid ©Twitter/Calgary Chamber

A Council vote on whether to continue the bid is scheduled for September 10.

Graz in Austria has already withdrawn their interest in hosting the Games due to a lack of Government support and Sion in Switzerland backed out when the city lost a referendum.

The announcement on Moran comes just one day after Calgary City Council voted to release a further CAD$5.1 million ($3.9 million/£3 million/€3.4 million) in funding.

The Calgary 2026 bid team has already named the first 16 members of its 20 member Board of Directors, with Scott Hutcheson made chair.

"At the core of our bid group is diversity and inclusion, along with the health and wellness of our community," said Hutcheson.

"Mary has spent nearly the last decade of her career ensuring the well-being of our city. 

"She is a dynamic, decisive and pragmatic leader who is a proven performer in the world of business and brings a passion for her city, province and country to this prestigious position. 

"Canada's Olympic bid is in good hands."

The IOC is expected to publish a list of preferred candidates during its Session in Buenos Aires in October. 

Last week IOC executive director Christophe Dubi visited Calgary in an attempt to encourage the city to bid for the Games.