With most of the world’s eyes set on the 2012 Summer Olympic Games coming up in London, a group of Colorado lawmakers have set their sights on hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The Denver Olympic Bid Exploratory Committee unanimously voted to recommend pursuing a bid to Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
Sports Illustrated reported:
The exploratory committee, formed by Hickenlooper and Hancock, concluded that Denver would be in a “very good position” to seek the games and that there are “clear long-term community and economic benefits” in both bidding and eventually hosting.
The bidding process could cost between $27 million and $45 million according to the exploratory committee co-chair Annie Warhover. But the city plans to meet the financial requirements without using public money.
Don Elliman, Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Denver Anschutz Medical campus and co-chair of the committee told Fox 31:
Our analysis found Denver and Colorado are capable of financing an Olympic bid without seeking additional financial contributions from the public.
Most of the funding is planned to come from private sponsors. Though no companies have officially pledged their support, the fundraising process typically doesn’t begin until after the bid is formally submitted.
Denver was previously awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics, but denied the bid due to public opposition over concerns about pollution and increased urban sprawl. A vote in 1972 to disallow the use of public funds to finance the games also hurt the city’s chances.
As one of the premier winter sports destinations in the world, Colorado should have a chance to show off its facilities (i.e. mountains) on a global scale. The concerns over traffic congestion and overcrowding due to the influx of tourists are founded, but if the cities and towns are given 10 years to prepare then ample adjustments should be possible.
The chance to host the Olympics should be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Denver has already snubbed it’s nose once, and shouldn’t make the same mistake again.