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Is Calgary's sport legacy slipping away?

Last Updated Nov 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm MDT

Calgary, Canada - March 1, 2015: People enjoying the skiing at Canada Olympic Park on March 1, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta. Visible are skiers at the base of the hill. Ski jump towers are on the top left. (PHOTO: User jewhyte, iStock)

CALGARY (CITYNEWS) – Is Calgary at risk of losing its sports legacy? One Olympic athlete says the opportunities she had may be slipping away from the next generation.

“What would we be now if we didn’t host those ’88 Olympics? That legacy is slowly going away and this is our opportunity to renew it.”

Cheryl Bernard was 43 when she first represented Canada in the Vancouver 2010 games where she earned a silver medal as skip for her curling squad.

She says an Olympics leaves behind so much more than buildings, and you have to have a little faith in your investment.

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“Now how do you put a dollar value on all the other stuff? The legacy, the opportunity that kids grow up seeing and believing and experiencing an Olympics in their city? You can’t. You just have to trust the Olympic athletes that have experienced it and a city that’s hosted it.”

Tristan Walker, a silver-medal-winning luger, is training in Calgary for the next Olympic games. He entered his first training camp when he was nine years old. He’s certain if he grew up anywhere but Calgary he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“Especially for luge because we have to start so young,” he told CityNews. “It’s such a developed skill that we’re starting kids at eight years old now. Even two years younger than my first time I was on the Canadian novice team. It’s imperative to have.”

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He’s looking forward now to the 2022 Beijing games and if he’s not competing in 2026–wherever those games may be–he believes there’s a young athlete ready to take his spot.

“For every Olympic medalist like me, there are thousands of kids that have benefitted from the sports system and directly from the legacy of the 1988 Olympics.”