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Denver’s bid for 2018 Olympics put on ice

Clay Latimer
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado – Denver’s hopes for staging the Winter Olympics were put on ice Wednesday when the U.S. Olympic Committee announced it would not submit a bid for the 2018 Winter Games.

“Our sole focus is on supporting Chicago and its bid for the 2016 Games,” USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said. “We have given absolutely no consideration to any other bid.”

Chicago is one of four finalists for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee will select the 2016 host on Oct. 2, a couple of weeks before the IOC deadline for receiving 2018 Winter Games applications.

“In the short term, it’s discouraging. But our mission has been long term,” said Robert Cohen, chairman of the Metro Denver Sports Commission board of directors. “This is like running a marathon. Every mile doesn’t go the way you planned it. But I think we’re doing all we need to do. I’m excited by what we’ve done. I’m more encouraged than discouraged.”

Denver could be in position to host the 2022 Winter Games. In recent years, the IOC has moved away from quaint towns such as Lake Placid, N.Y. (1980), and Lillehammer, Norway (1994), preferring larger cities such as Salt Lake City (2002), Turin, Italy (2006), and Vancouver, British Columbia (2010).

The short list for potential American sites includes Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno.

Colorado voters spurned the 1976 Games, based on environmental and financial concerns, an unprecedented move that enraged the IOC, but now Denver has re-entered the Olympic chase.

In March, the city will host the 2009 Sport Accord, an annual gathering of 1,500 leading representatives from international sport, including IOC members. It will be the first time the event has taken place in North America.

“Denver is really stepping up and doing a tremendous job in attracting and successfully organizing important national and international events,” Seibel said. “Denver is doing a great job establishing itself as a player in national and international sports.

“We applaud Denver for what it’s doing. That’s where our discussions have been, in respect to Denver’s desire to become much more active in attracting and hosting national and international events.

“But we are entirely focused on all we can do in support of Chicago and its bid. It requires that kind of focus in order to succeed.”


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