Olympics - Calgary votes to keep 2026 Games bid process alive

(Reuters) - Calgary will continue to explore a potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics after city councillors in the western Canadian city voted on Monday to keep the process alive.

The 15-member council voted 9-6 in favour of continuing the bid process, which will be overseen by a sub-committee made up of four councillors and the mayor.

The vote, which comes at a time when many cities have pulled out of Olympics bids over concerns about huge costs, follows an announcement last month that the governments of Canada and the province of Alberta supported the creation of a bid corporation.

Cities around the world are no longer clamouring to host an Olympics. Many in recent years have removed themselves from consideration, either scared off by the size and cost of the Games or pressured by local opposition.

A bid exploration committee estimated last year that Calgary would need C$2.4 billion (1.33 billion pounds) in funding to cover the shortfall between revenue and costs if it were to host the sporting extravaganza.

Austria's Graz, Swedish capital Stockholm, Sion in Switzerland, Turkey's Erzurum, Japan's Sapporo and an Italian bid involving Cortina d'Ampezzo, Milan and Turin have all expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Games.

The International Olympic Committee session in October will invite candidates to bid formally and a host city will be selected in September, 2019.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)