Denver fills out low-cost winter Olympic bid plan
A future winter Olympic Games hosted by Denver and the state of Colorado in USA could involve some events being hosted far from the city and state, including as far away as Canada, according to the latest plans under discussion by backers of a potential bid.
Rob Cohen, the chairman of the 36-member Denver and Colorado Olympic and Paralympic Exploratory Committee, told the Colorado Sun: “We personally believe the Olympic movement is at a tipping point where the time is right for this kind of dialogue and discussion.”
Denver is vying with Salt Lake City to bid for a future edition of the games, probably in 2030, with Salt Lake City having boasted that no local tax dollars would be required to make up a proposed budget of $1.4 billion for the city to host another winter Olympic Games (it previously hosted the games in 2002).
In March, the US Olympic Committee sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee saying that it was interested in bidding to host the 2030 games.
One option under discussion is for Denver to propose a co-hosting plan with Salt Lake City.
Cohen said: “We see this as a chance to completely change how we look at how the games are hosted and run. We relooked at everything. What we have been calling ‘the Colorado way’ would allow us to do it without building permanent venues, keeping it privately financed and without taxpayer guarantees, and with a community engagement process that is as inclusive and broad as we can be.”
In order to avoid the cost of building an athletes’ village, Cohen said that athletes could be housed in existing hotels, along with new affordable housing units, adding: “Our motto all along has been we should build no permanent infrastructure unless it’s permanent infrastructure that our community wants, whether we were hosting the games or not.”
Denver believes it has 13 of the required 16 venues to host a winter Olympics, but one of the missing venues is a costly bobsleigh track, which it does not want to build; hence the suggestion that sliding events could take place as far afield as Park City in Utah, Lake Placid in New York state, or even locations in Canada.
Cohen said: “There are very good reasons to look at our bid and closely evaluate it. In Colorado, the infrastructure we have around the 13 venues is significant and creates greater revenue opportunities than maybe existing venues in other locations.
“There are aspects of our model that not only will benefit us, but will benefit every host. We think that instead of a constricting number of host cities that might be interested, that the pendulum could swing the other way. We are the very front edge of this kind of conversation. And it’s not easy to be on the front end of a wave change for something as big and important as the Olympics.”
The exploratory committee has proposed a privately-funded games costing between $1.8 billion and $2.1 billion, with most of the money coming from the International Olympic Committee, ticket sales and sponsorships.
Last month, Reno-Tahoe declined to express interest in bidding for the 2030 games, saying that a bid was not financially feasible for the region, given restrictions imposed on bidders as a knock-on effect of Los Angeles hosting the 2028 Olympic Games.
Also last month, the IOC was left with just two bids to host the 2026 games - Stockholm and Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzzo - after a referendum in Calgary, Canada in which voters opted not to continue with the city's rival bid for the games.
Meanwhile, deputies from the Catalan cities of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona have travelled to the IOC’s headquarters in Lausanne to confirm their support for a rival bid by Barcelona and municipalities in the Pyrenees to host the 2030 games.Sapporo in Japan and cities in Finland and Norway are among those elsewhere in the world to have expressed interest in bidding for the 2030 games.