Visiting Olympic Park {Alberta}

The end of our trip to Alberta came far too quickly. We had spent the day driving through Banff and then driving through Yoho and then back through Banff and on to Calgary. When we rolled into Calgary in the evening, we found that our hotel was right across the street from the Olympic Park.

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. It was my first experience watching the Olympics and I remember staying up late every night to watch it on tv. These games saw 1,423 athletes from 57 different countries compete. The flags of those countries mark the entrance to the park. This would be the last Olympics to have teams from the Soviet Union and East Germany.

This Olympic year also saw the first Jamaican bobsled team. Coming in as the underdogs from a tropical climate to compete in a winter sport, they quickly became a favorite team of the games. Because of their limited experience they began to appeal to other teams for some of the equipment needed to compete. This led to a lot of created friendships with the athletes from other countries. They competed in both the two man and four man bobsled.

the original Jamaican bobsled team with the Olympic mascots (photo:

A few years later, Disney produced a movie loosely based on the team and their Olympic experience- Cool Runnings. This movie was happily received in pop culture with its parody version of the team and the soundtrack of reggae music. But there have been a lot of criticisms of the movie over the years for their inaccurate portrayals of the team and the games they competed in. The bobsled on display at the park is the one from the movie while the real one returned to Jamaica to stand as a tribute to those first athletes.

We walked to the viewing area where we stood watching all the young hopefuls make their way down their chosen slope. It was amazing that the different arenas were all in a line next to each other starting with the ski jump, then moguls, and on down to the snowboarding halfpipe. It was really fun to watch the different areas and see the skill and passion that is already demonstrated in these young athletes. It must help to get to practice on these slopes that once held the Olympics.

We were so glad of the chance to see the Olympic park and talk about the different sports, athletes, and games that we have watched over the years. But for me, I will always remember that first time watching the Olympic games in the winter of 1988.

Need some more incredible sporting events? Then you may be interested in these:

Iditarod Dog Race – Alaska

Kentucky Derby Horse Race- Kentucky

Pro Surf Competition- French Polynesia

Thanks for joining me on this visit to Winsport Olympic Park in Calgary. May you always feel like you won the gold, no matter what place you take.

22 responses to “Visiting Olympic Park {Alberta}”

    • I loved that the park is still in use and to see so many people there on the slopes. It’s fun to think about that one of the kids there might grow up to be an Olympic athlete someday. 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind words Marion 🙂 I always love the Olympics and it was so fun to get to see where the first Olympics I remember watching were held. I remember pulling out a map to find all the countries at the Olympics and my dad explaining as best he could about East Germany and a West Germany.

  1. Calgary has done well continuing to use their Olympic venues. Up until a couple of years ago it was the main training venue for Bobsleigh, luge and skeleton too. They’ve transitioned more to freestyle ski and snowboard. It’s a great venue to watch when they have World Cup events! Glad you got to see it😊 Maggie

  2. Glad you got to spend a bit of time in Calgary and explore Olympic Park. Even though the Olympics were hosted here a couple of decades ago, it’s nice to see this area still being utilized.

    • I wish I could have seen more of Calgary, but I’ll save that for my next visit. I loved that the facility is still being used and so full of kids maybe starting on their own path to the Olympics 🙂

  3. What a happy discovery that your hotel was right across from the park. Like you I have happy and magical memories of watching the 88 Olympics on TV and marvelling at the whole spectacle as a ten year old. I think I would want to visit the park for the Jamaican Bobsled stuff alone. It’s such a great story and I love the movie, being a John Candy fan. In fact, it’s a film I’ve been wanting to show Sladja for some time. Getting to look out across those famous slopes sounds like the icing on the cake.

    • It was the best happy accident that we were so close. I think Cool Runnings was such a movie icon of our generation and we connect with a sounding call of “Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up its bobsled time!” I love John Candy- definitely one of the late and greats. It’s fun to think about the kids on those slopes and that one of them may well go on to be in the Olympics 🙂

  4. Looks like a fun way to end the vacation. I haven’t been there but watching the winter Olympics is always so exciting. I’d forgotten that story about the Jamaican bobsled team. Cool that they’ve kept some of the memorabilia there on display.

    • I agree, I always love when the Olympics are happening and watching them. I really liked how they have kept the facility in use and how they kept the memory of the team present there. I hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

  5. I love it when these sites are still in use. I’m an Olympics nutjob (just got my Paris 2024 tickets actually) so I’d definitely love to visit here 🙂

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