Olympic pitch: Maybe it’s Colorado’s time
The Denver Post
The Olympic Games are political plutonium.
Since 2014, voters and politicians in Boston, Budapest, Calgary, Hamburg, Oslo and Krakow have shot down bids for the games. It’s a global revolt powered by images of abandoned bobsled tracks, empty stadiums and blown budgets in the tens of billions of dollars.
In Denver, citizen organizers have launched a campaign that would limit the region’s play for the 2030 Winter Games. The Olympics already have become a symbol for challengers of Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration in the upcoming election. Gov.-elect Jared Polis has said the games “would make things worse, not better,” something fun “for millionaires” that he would support only “if somebody else pays for it.”
And yet, oddly enough, some of Colorado’s most prominent people smell an opportunity in unpopularity: Could Denver and the state negotiate their way to a new kind of games without spending a public dollar?
“Eventually, they will run out of cities that want to host (the games). They’re running out of them now,” said Rob Cohen, the financial CEO who’s leading the Olympic exploratory committee launched a year ago by Hancock and Gov. John Hickenlooper.
“Our proposal is to change the model. If they’re interested in doing that, we’re interested in talking to them.”
A final decision on the site of the 2030 Games is still years away, but the unconventional plan for a Colorado-hosted games is approaching a crucial vote: U.S. Olympic Committee leaders recently visited Denver and Salt Lake City, and they soon will decide which of the two cities to support in the international selection process.
And with few global competitors emerging, the U.S. candidate may have an open lane to the games.
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