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Calgary '88 Olympic Games leader Bob Niven dead at 80

Bob Niven, the man who helped bring the Olympics to Calgary in 1988, has died at the age of 80. (Supplied/WinSport) Bob Niven, the man who helped bring the Olympics to Calgary in 1988, has died at the age of 80. (Supplied/WinSport)
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One of the men who brought the Winter Olympic Games to Calgary in 1988 has died.

Bob Niven, who was president of the bid committee, died May 26 at the age of 80.

Niven was vice-chair of the organizing committee and served as mayor of the Olympic Village during the Games.

Canada Olympic Park named its high-performance training facility in his honour.

The legacy facilities from the 1988 Winter Games gave athletes a place to train and compete and helped make Canada a strong winter sport country.

Niven's obituary states he died of corticobasal degeneration, which is a rare progressive, degenerative neurological disease that primarily affects speech, motor function and balance.

According to his obituary, Niven was born Aug. 16, 1942, in Maryport, England. His father, Robert H. Niven, was a Canadian pilot serving in the Royal Air Force who was killed in action three months before Niven was born.

Niven travelled to Canada with his mother, Andrea, in 1946. On the voyage his mother met Canadian military surgeon Max Cameron. They married and the family settled in Calgary.

Niven spent 45 years working in the oil and gas industry after completing a master's degree in mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia in 1957.

He spent 12 years volunteering for the Calgary Olympics as bid committee chair and vice-president of the organizing committee.

He also served as the chairman of the Calgary Olympic Development Association (now Winsport), which provides training for Olympic athletes and maintains the 1988 facilities.

Niven was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2023.

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