Bob Niven, one of the planners of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, passed away from a disease. He was 80.
The death was verified Sunday by Calgary’s WinSport. Corticobasal degeneration, a rare, progressive, degenerative neurological condition that predominantly impacts speech, motor ability, and balance, caused Niven’s death.
When the Calgary Booster Club president asked for interest in hosting the Olympic games in Calgary in 1978, Niven and Frank King were the first two to raise their hands.
“They were really the key drivers to get the bid going, they were the sort of force behind it,” said Alf Fischer, who was involved in Alberta alpine skiing and worked with Niven throughout the Games.
“He had quite an impact on the city and made Calgary a formidable sports city.”
In order to assure the success of the games, Bob volunteered for Olympiques Calgary Olympics ’88 for 12 years in a variety of capacities.
The Calgary Olympic Development Association, which is now WinSport, said he made a big contribution as its chairman as well.
The Saddledome and the Olympic Oval are only two of the facilities and structures that Fischer claimed demonstrate Niven’s influence on the city.
Prior to the building of the Markin MacPhail Centre, the Bob Niven Training Centre at Canada Olympic Park was well-known as a medal factory for Canadian winter athletes.
2012 saw Niven’s induction into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
“Bob was a true Calgary sporting icon, who selflessly devoted so much of his time to amateur sport,” WinSport wrote in a statement.
“[He] was instrumental in Calgary hosting the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and ultimately the reason for WinSport existing as it does today.”