Vail Daily editorial: Denver should run in terror from a Winter Olympics bid

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Our View
Bumper stickers both supporting and opposing Denver's bid to host the 1976 Winter Olympics.

The Tuesday, Sept. 26, online edition of The Denver Post had a story about Denver being one of three U.S. cities that might bid for a Winter Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Committee is considering a bid for either the 2026 or 2030 games.

Here’s hoping some other city gets the “honor” of making the bid.

It’s beyond baffling why any city, anywhere, would bother to try to become a host city for the Games. Olympics are wildly expensive and almost always involve obscene amounts of public money for a two-week show that requires years of life-disrupting construction before the events are held.

If Denver does make a bid, then you can be sure that Vail and Beaver Creek will be eyed for ski racing, with ski jumping probably going to Steamboat and Nordic events elsewhere.

Readers of a certain age will remember the last time Colorado made a bid and earned the right to host the 1976 Winter Olympics.

Making a long story short, Denver was awarded the Games in 1970. Vail and the then-planned Beaver Creek resort would host the ski racing.

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In 1972, a young Front Range politician, Dick Lamm, led a drive to stop the games from coming, citing the cost and the growth pressures on an already fast-growing state. State voters in 1972 soundly rejected a $5 million bond to help fund the Games, and the plan was killed.

Growth came anyway, of course, but the anti-Olympic drive launched Lamm’s career, and he eventually served as governor from 1975 to 1987.

Lamm and others knew then what so few civic and national leaders realize today: Hosting the Olympics is a bad deal.

This will never happen — there’s no opportunity for graft and corruption in it — but the International Olympic Committee should pick between four and six hosts each for the winter and summer games and then rotate.

In this country, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City could be hosts relatively easily. Moscow, London and probably Beijing come to mind as summer hosts on other continents. Winter Olympics could easily be held every 16 to 20 years in Japan or Korea, Austria and, perhaps, Sochi in Russia.

Until that system is in place — which will be never — potential host cities should run from Olympic bids like someone just dropped a skunk in the room.

The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll and Business Editor Scott Miller.

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