Calgary celebrates Olympic anniversary
Calgary hosted the Olympics in 1988 and 25 years later, Calgarians are reminiscing and remembering one of the city’s finest moments in sport.
The Olympic cauldron was ignited outside the Olympic Oval just after noon on Wednesday to mark the occasion.
It is one of several caldrons being lit around the city to mark the anniversary of the '88 Games.
The oval and University of Calgary also held a torch relay, cake cutting ceremony and free public skate over the lunch hour.
The “Celebrate ’88 – Legacy Skate” gets underway at the oval at 6:00 p.m. and is an 80s themed event.
The first 1000 people will receive free Oval 25th Anniversary pins and an Olympic torch and Mascots Heidi and Howdy will be on hand for photos.
The Olympic Oval opened its doors to the public on September 27, 1987 and was the first covered oval in North America.
The oval earned the titles of “Canada’s Metal Factory” and “Fastest Ice in the World” and a total of 257 long track world records and 30 short track world records have been set on the track since 1987.
Calgary 1988 Olympic Games fast facts:
- The opening day was February 13, 1988 and closing day was February 28, 1988
- This was the first time the Olympic Winter Games was hosted in Canada
- The number of events increased from 39 in Sarajevo to 46
- Super Giant Slalom was on the programme for the first time
- Nordic combined returned to Olympic competition for the first time since 1948
- Alpine events took place on artificial snow
- Curling was a demonstration sport
- Short-track speed skating and freestyle skiing were added as demonstration disciplines
- Speed skating was in a covered oval for the first time
- First smoke-free games and athletes could sit in the stands with the spectators
- Robyn Perry lit the torch to open the games at McMahon Stadium
- For the first time the Winter Games was extended to 16 days, including three weekends
- 1, 423 Athletes participated in the Winter Games in Calgary; 301 women and 1,122 men
- There were 9,498 volunteers involved in the 1988 Winter Games
- 6,838 members of the media attended the games; 2,477 press and 4,361 broadcasters
Frank King was in charge of the Olympics in Calgary and says facilities like the oval are still used for international competitions.
"We have very, very good world wide attention and I think that's just generally good for the prosperity of our country," said King. "You have a dream when you start these things and we did have a drean and we were dreaming big. This one is big and in technicolour. It is unbelievable the way the people of Calgary have taken advantage of these facilities and improved on them. We built very good facilities but 25 years later, they're even better"
The city has officially proclaimed February 13 as Olympic Legacy Day.