No Olympics 2022 for Denver (or any American city), but still hope for 2026

Categories: News, Sports

There's always 2026?

In a disappointing development for folks who have been pushing Denver to make a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, news broke this week that the United States Olympics Committee is not going to pursue 2022, which means Denver is out of the running for that year.

It was unfortunate timing for local leaders on the Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee, which has spent the last six months researching the benefits of a potential bid, culminating in a report released last week in which members of the committee unanimously recommended that Governor John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock pursue getting the 2022 Games.

And when we spoke to Hickenlooper about it Monday, he also seemed pretty enthusiastic about the idea of hosting the Winter Games.

No one supporting a bid appeared too concerned about Denver's strange history with the Olympics -- dating back to the '70s, when the Mile High City was selected to host and then Colorado voters snubbed the International Olympic Committee and rejected its offer. This past history has raised some questions as to whether there might be lingering resentments that would make it difficult for Denver to win a bid.

But as it turns out, Denver won't be getting that far.

Even if Hickenlooper and Hancock were fully on board -- and they both expressed serious interest -- Denver still needed the United States Olympics Committee to officially decide whether it wanted to submit an American city for 2022. The local exploratory committee and elected officials always knew that the USOC would be a deciding factor as well, though it's definitely bad timing that the USOC announced it was nixing 2022 less than a week after the committee's full recommendation was released.

"It's disappointing, but we always knew it was a possibility," says Sue Baldwin, interim president of the Denver Sports Commission, a nonprofit organization which works to draw big sporting events to Denver. This group worked with the exploratory committee on the recommendations for a bid.

The backstory behind this latest twist is that in May, the USOC resolved a longstanding dispute over a revenue-sharing agreement with the IOC; the USOC had said it would not bid again until that was resolved. The timing meant that the committee wouldn't have a lot of time to prepare a 2022 bid, since the proposal would have to be submitted in the fall of 2013. And in its announcement about skipping 2022, the USOC did express interest in potential bids for 2024 or 2026 -- something that gives the Denver group some hope.

"We always knew we might jump up against that," Baldwin says. "But Colorado and Denver felt like we needed to be prepared."

And if the USOC decides it does, in fact, want a winter bid for 2026, "Denver would obviously be interested in that," says Baldwin. "None of the work of the committee was in vain...a lot of really thoughtful, creative work."

Page down to see comments from the Hickenlooper and Hancock, as well as former governor Dick Lamm.

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PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't bid on the Olympics for Denver!!!!  I worked very hard to get out the vote for the 1976 rejection of the Olympics and thought the IOC stated they would never accept a bid from Colorado again.....and we all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief! 

What are you thinking? Infrastructure alone would cost the taxpayers for generations to come but the biggest loss would be our beautiful mountains! Ask those in Utah about the increased taxes they are paying for years to come and the cost of upkeep for the infrastructure of the venues. They lost billions, destroyed so much of their pristine landscape, and their children's children will be paying. 

I will fight once again, as will many of us, and we have already formed groups to vote this down again. We love our state, we love our mountains, and we love watching the Olympics somewhere else!


How does one create paragraphs? ARRGH!!!!!


I recently returned home to visit, and heard that there was the possibility of "Denver" hosting the Olympics. I remember the rejection of the Olympics in 1976, and could not believe that people were actually considering this AGAIN.  I live in London now. I came to Colorado to get away from the Olympics here. Yes, the athletes and sports are something to be cherished, but not the corporate profit fest that was held here at the expense of London taxpayers. Oh yes, we had the assurance that there would be "legacy" from these games, but I see very little evidence of it vastly improving the lives of people living in the poorest part of London where the games were largely held.  Londoners will be paying for the games for a decade, at a time when our wages are static, costs are rising, unemployment is rising and infrastructure needs investment. So, we had the roads where the torch was carried resurfaced... that's infrastructure, right? Just uncoordinated and rather unplanned infrastructure investment.  We had massive disruption of the tube for the last four years, with weekend closures of lines so that improvements and maintenance that had been neglected for decades were suddenly pushed into action. Years of disruption, of always having the check whether the lines were running or not, all for a few weeks of sporting events. What kind of way is this to manage infrastructure investment, to wait for a massive event before we tidy up the place? It is like neglecting to re-decorate your home, and only being spurred into doing it in the week before the in-laws visit.  I can only hope that Coloradoans won't be hoodwinked by this proposal. It might bring some jobs, but they will be temporary and largely unskilled service jobs. You might get some construction jobs for awhile, but the state's taxpayers will end up paying for the infrastructure for the games. The mass of jobs linked to the games will be minimum wage, corporate service jobs. The security for the London games was shambolic, with the private company contracted to provide security staff failing so badly that the army had to step in. Is security something that you want to leave to a private company, in this day and age?  The Games, the Games themselves, were a joy. But in this time of austerity, it seems ridiculous to keep touring the games around, recreating the necessary infrastructure every four years. I really think they should just go to Greece, permanently.

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