NoCalgaryOlympics have written to new Calgary 2026 chief executive Mary Moran asking her questions ©NoCalgaryOlympics

Opponents of Calgary's bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have written an open letter to new chief executive Mary Moran asking her to justify why the city should want to host a three-week event "that will not have meaningful impact" on its future.

They also ask if Calgary should deal with an organisation which has "taken a soft stance against Russia" on doping. 

Moran was officially unveiled as the bid's chief executive during an event on Tuesday (July 31) at the Canada Olympic Park, which was built for the last time Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988.

Moran is currently President of Calgary Economic Development and will take a leave of absence from that role when she officially begins her new role on August 13.

It remains uncertain whether the bid will make it to the start line.

First, there is a meeting of Calgary City Council on September 13 to discuss whether they should continue supporting it.

If it survives that, an even greater hurdle remains in the way of Calgary on November 13 when a plebiscite is due to be held asking local citizens "are you for or are you against Calgary hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?"

NoCalgaryOlympics, the local group set-up to oppose their city's bid, are expected to lobby hard to persuade citizens to vote against it and have already contacted Moran.

"Congratulations on your new role with Calgary2026," they wrote in their letter signed Members of NoCalgaryOlympics

"We’re pleased to welcome you to the conversation.

"Our growing group of Calgarians is eager to hear answers to questions about which we are extremely concerned."

Mary Moran was introduced as chief executive of Calgary's bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games on Tuesday ©Calgary 2026
Mary Moran was introduced as chief executive of Calgary's bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games on Tuesday ©Calgary 2026

NoCalgaryOlympics add in their letter: "As someone who also loves Calgary, we are confident you share these concerns and will give them due consideration."

The costs of paying for the Games, budgeted last year at CAD$4.6 billion (£2.7 billion/$3.5 billion/€3.1 billion), are a major concern.

"Will you ensure that the citizens of Calgary are not solely responsible for cost overruns, honouring principle #5 approved by City Council on July 31st, 2017 that states: 5.  

"'If the IOC wants financial guarantees from the host city, such guarantees must be provided by someone other than the city or be at a level deemed acceptable to the city?'" NoCalgaryOlympics wrote in their letter.

They also want Moran to investigate whether Calgary should align itself with the Olympic Movement following recent controversies. 

"Do you have concern for the City of Calgary signing a contractual relationship with the International Olympic Committee?" Moran is asked in the letter.

"How are you evaluating the reputational risk of doing business with an entity that has taken a soft stance against Russia, against doping, and has a history of ethical black marks through its bidding and business processes?"

NoCalgaryOlympics also question whether Moran is best serving the city by leaving her role at Calgary Economic Development, which works to get businesses to invest in the city. 

"Is now the time to take your attention away from the objective of diversifying and strengthening Calgary’s economy and onto a three-week event that will not have meaningful impact on downtown office vacancy or permanent, high-paying jobs?" they write to Moran.

"Our Calgary Council has agreed that they will not pursue an Olympic bid if the risks or costs are to great. 

"We hope that you make the same commitment as you evaluate a potential bid."