Rick Hanson has been chosen to head up Calgary's 2026 Olympic bid exploration committee ©Twitter

Canadian Rick Hanson has been appointed to head up an exploration committee examining whether Calgary should launch a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Hanson, a former police chief in the Canadian city who resigned from his role last year, will be tasked with leading the group, which includes the likes of Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Beckie Scott, who also chairs the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Athletes’ Committee.

They are expected to evaluate the potential costs of hosting the event for a second time, such as how local and national stakeholders will fund holding the Winter Games.

The exploration committee will also analyse how they can utilise existing facilities, used for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

The group is due to produce an interim report for the City Council, with a more detailed document set to be delivered in June.

The development comes after the City Council agreed to fund a $5 million (£3.8 million/€4.5 million) inquisition on a potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and follows Québec ending its interest in pursuing an attempt to secure the hosting rights for the event.

A joint bid from Calgary and Québec - two regions which are separated by almost 3,800 kilometres - had also been mooted but that also appears to have fallen by the wayside with the latter’s decision to abandon any consideration of a bid.

“Our goal is to collect all the best information in collaboration with the community to see if it makes sense to bid on the 2026 Games,” Hanson said at an event at Calgary City Hall.

“I have to be clear on this: our work does not pre-suppose an outcome. 

"Our success as a committee is not whether we move forward with a bid or not.

“It will be whether the Council has enough good quality information to make an informed decision that will benefit Calgarians.”

Calgary last hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 ©Getty Images
Calgary last hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 ©Getty Images

Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi had confirmed his city was mulling over a bid earlier this year and claims he spoke to a member of the International Olympic Committee concerning the topic during a visit to the Rio 2016 Games last month.

Nenshi said the figures would have to be “bullet-proof” for Calgary to enter the race and admitted he remains “sceptical” over whether hosting the Olympics “really works”.

“The message we’ve been getting is if you have to build a ton of infrastructure, that will actually count against you whereas in the past ‘look, we’re building shiny new infrastructure’ would have been something in your favour,” said Nenshi.

“We’ve very well-positioned that way, but as I say over and over again, it has to be based on evidence.

“I remain, though an Olympic fan, a bit of a sceptic on whether this thing really works.

“The numbers have to be bullet-proof.”

Switzerland are almost certain to bid for the 2026 Games, with four projects in the running to be the European nation’s candidate.

Trento in Italy, Dresden in Germany, 2022 runner-up Almaty in Kazakhstan, Sweden's capital Stockholm, Lake Placid in the United States and the Japanese city of Sapporo have all been touted as potential bidders.