July 15th, 2024

Alberta Summer Games here cancelled

By Lethbridge Herald on January 29, 2021.

Herald file photo by Ian Martens Participants compete in the kayak polo event at Nicholas Sheran Lake during the last time Lethbridge hosted the Alberta Summer Games in 2012. @IMartensHerald

Dale Woodard
Lethbridge Herald
For the second straight summer, the Alberta Summer Games will not be coming to southern Alberta.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Lethbridge Alberta Summer Games Society made the decision to cancel the 2021 Alberta Summer Games Friday after consulting with health officials, the City of Lethbridge, the Alberta Government and the Games Society, making the decision based on the health and safety of the participants, spectators, volunteers and residents of the City of Lethbridge.
Lethbridge was originally set to host the 2020 Alberta Summer Games last July, but concerns around the pandemic at that time bumped the Games to this summer.
Due to ongoing uncertainty with the pandemic, the decision has also been made not to bid for the 2022 Games, making 2024 the next possible year Lethbridge could host.
Games Manager Steve Dudas said the Board was holding out hope late last year that the Games would be able to go on.
“In October and November we were hoping things would improve and they weren’t,” he said.
“We were talking to the City and Alberta Health. The board wanted to know, and we honoured their request, by the end of January whether this was happening or not, whether it was modified games or whatever.
“We didn’t get the green light we were hoping for.”
Dudas said the 2022 Games were on the table, but due to uncertainty of what next year will look like, the decision was made to not bid for the games.
“We said this could still linger and we could be making the same call next year of whether we do this or not,” he said.
“It was one of those (things) for the board and the executive, it’s frustration and disappointment. We had a lot of great plans for everything, the opening ceremonies and what everything was going to look like.”
Dudas said looking at a seven-day event as opposed to four was explored for the 2021 Alberta Summer Games.
“So starting on the Monday rather Than the Thursday and having half the sports come in, meaning half the Athletes and half the volunteers.
Half the sports were going to come on the Monday and leave Thursday morning then the remaining sports would come in Thursday night and stay until Sunday. It was basically splitting the sports in half and less kids would be involved, less kids in the food centre and less kids in the schools just to try and give us a chance and having less kids together.”
But restrictions on larger groups were playing a factor.
“The for Games we wanted, for example, the opening ceremonies we could still do it, but having 1,000 kids on the Enmax Centre floor probably still wouldn’t have been allowed,” said Dudas. “We were maybe at looking doing the opening ceremonies outside. We had everything on the table on how to make this work and what to do, potentially not even using the schools because that was becoming an issue. For accommodations, maybe we have the kids in hotels and then the Transportation aspect is not there, feeding the kids is not there, so the Games started not looking like how they should be.”
However, there’s a possibility to host again in three years.
“If 2024 is back in the cycle, that comes down to the Alberta Government and what they want to do with the Games,” said Dudas.
In a press release, Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman noted the disappointment of losing the Alberta Summer Games again, but commended the organizers for making the tough decision to ensure the health and safety of those involved
“Maintaining the health of the athletes, volunteers and the communities participating is paramount. We look forward to hosting the Alberta Summer Games again at some point in the future.”
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