After months of debate, the Winter Games Exploratory Committee has made its final decision — Denver should pursue a bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. According to the press release, this decision was made after the committee connected with Coloradans — they estimate they made 30,000 interactions with Coloradans across the state using polls/surveys, online community meetings, connection through a webpage and more. It also studied the reform documents about how the games will take place. Titled “The New Norm,” the reform allows cities greater flexibility on designing the games with a focus on sustainability and efficiency (which is much needed when you look at how many old Olympic facilities have gone into disrepair over the years). The exploratory committee, however, had some major recommendations.
First, the committee agreed that the bid should only go forward if there is a statewide vote as early as 2020. “A statewide referendum gives Coloradans the chance to weigh in on the potential to host a Winter Games,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We handle crowds much greater than the typical Winter Games attendance without significant congestion or other impacts to the state. This report shows how a Winter Games could provide long term economic, social and environmental benefits.”
Second, the committee recommends a new model that does not use any direct funding from taxpayers to host the games. All funding would then be sourced from private entities. Currently, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Governor Hickenlooper have accepted the recommendation.
“By combining the International Olympic Committee’s new approach to hosting the Games with the recommendations to relieve the financial burden on taxpayers and place the ultimate decision-making with Colorado residents, I feel we have the right approach to host the Games the Colorado way.” Mayor Hancock added, “I am grateful for the Exploratory Committee’s guidance for moving forward as a community. Through their engagement with residents, they not only determined what the support was for hosting a future Winter Games, but also how these events could serve as a catalyst to help solve challenging issues statewide, including growing traffic congestion and the housing crisis.”
This bid will put us in the running for the 2030 Olympics — which may seem far off but the host city could be selected in 2023 with official bid conversations starting as soon as 2021. So whether you’re excited or dreading the coming of the games — you may want to mark your calendars for 2030 and keep an eye out for a potential vote.