Though Denver declined an Olympic offer in 1972, the Mile High City is now considering a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Governor John Hickenlooper are beginning to engage in informal conversations about how to bring the Olympics to Colorado.
"At this point we are in the early stages of figuring out whether this makes sense for Denver, though it is something we are interested in," Mayor Hancock's communications director Will Alston told ESPN. "We've proven with recent events that as a city we absolutely have the capacity to make this a great venue for the Olympics."
For the past 10 years, Denver boosters have been gearing up for such a bid. Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee pulled out of bidding for the 2020 Olympic Games over a revenue-sharing dispute with the International Olympic Committee. Last Thursday, Michael Bennet, co-chair of the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus, wrote a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee's (USOC) board of directors requesting a timely solution to the revenue-sharing conflict. The next Olympics the U.S. could host would be the 2022 Games.
The next two years are essential to making a pitch to the USOC, which would need to submit the country's bid to the IOC by 2013. A final decision on the host city will be made in 2015.
Pyeongchang, South Korea, recently earned the winning bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
While it's only speculative at this point, potential venues for hosting the Olympic ski and snowboard events -- including ski halfpipe and ski and snowboard slopestyle, which will make their Olympic debut in 2014 -- include Breckenridge, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Aspen and Beaver Creek, according to Hancock's press office. "We think this would be a terrific opportunity for Colorado," says Kate Lessman, senior manager of communications at Vail Resorts.
Colorado has already hosted several national and international events, including the Winter X Games in Aspen, the World Cup ski races in Beaver Creek and the Olympic curling trials in Broomfield.
When Denver received the Olympic offer in 1972, taxpayers spurned the bid in fear of the high costs and possible environmental damages. This time, however, Hancock and Hickenlooper are trying not to let Denver's chance at the Olympics slip away again.
"We are ready to take our rightful place on the global stage," Mayor Hancock told the Denver Post. "Certainly nothing would help us do that greater than the Olympics in 2022."