The below-the-radar efforts by Colorado boosters about a possible Denver bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics recently made page-one news in the Denver Post, Colorado’s largest newspaper.
And while there has been no formal meetings or an official Olympic organizing committee, Denver’s recently elected mayor, Michael Hancock, and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, are “starting to mull the possibility of making a bid,” according to the story.
Several hurdles exist however; including some potential ill feelings within the international sports community toward Denver after the Mile High City was awarded the 1976 Winter Games, but pulled out when voters rejected it. The games instead went to 1964 host city, Innsbruck, Austria.
Other hurdles include the high price tag Salt Lake City helped carry when it hosted the 2002 Winter Games and the current tussling over sponsorships and broadcast rights between the U.S Olympic Committee and the international Olympic Committee. The disagreement has also caused the USOC to announce that it would not be submitting any bid through the 2020 Summer Games.
Potential Boost To Colorado Tourism
Colorado business and tourism leaders look at the potential of boosting Colorado’s visibility if the Games return, and former Olympians are stoked too.
“I’m in favor of Denver bidding on and getting the Olympics,” said Steamboat’s Billy Kidd, who won his silver medal in Innsbruck in ’64. “Denver can put on top events.” Kidd cited the mountain communities that have hosted World Cup ski competitions, headlined by the Vail Valley, which hosts its third World Alpine Championships in 2015.
Denver Mayor Hancock also cited the city’s highly praised hosting of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and all of Colorado is still giddy from the success of the just-concluded 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
The statewide race included stages that started and finished in several mountain resort towns including Mt. Crested Butte, Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge.
Colorado’s largest ski resort operator, Vail Resorts Inc., agreed that hosting an Olympics would be positive, “There is no question that having the Olympics in Colorado is positive for everyone, and there is no question that Beaver Creek, with its men’s and women’s downhills, could hold the races,” the company's CEO, Rob Katz, said.
But Katz also also cautioned that it was premature for VRI to jump into the process of being awarded the Olympics. “We’ll let others figure out how to make that happen.”