Mar 14, 2010 10:55 PM by Jeannette Hynes

Bringing the Olympic Winter Games to Colorado

The talk of the Olympic flame burning for two weeks in Denver in 2022 is heating up quickly.

"I hope we get this chance, in our lifetime, to see these games here," says Mike Moran, sports consultant, who worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee for 25 years.

On a recent radio program, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said he hoped Denver could host the 2022 Winter Games.  The three candidates running for Ritter's position tell the Denver Post they would also explore the option of hosting the games, but would need costs to be justified.

Moran says a lot of work needs to be done before Denver can even ask to be a bid city.

"The USOC has to repair its relationship, which has been very strained, with the IOC," says Moran.

It comes down to money:  Moran says the IOC (International Olympic Committee) wants the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) to take a smaller cut of worldwide sponsorships and broadcasting revenue, but the USOC would have to find other ways to generate that revenue.

He says the two groups are talking and moving in the right direction.

As for Denver, it will need to put up millions of dollars up front - all from private donors - and have a solid business plan.

"The games properly managed in the United States can easily make money and manage their budget," says Moran, citing Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City all made money from the games.

This bid wouldn't be for Denver alone: think hockey or short-track speed skating preliminaries at the World Arena.

"Colorado Springs would probably have some of the events with a successful Denver bid.  Denver is the right package if the USOC wants to go there," says Moran.

Denver was picked to be a host city for the 1976 Winter Games.  Colorado voters turned down the bid, citing concerns over cost and impact to the environment. Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm was a state legislator at the time.  In an e-mail to News First 5 on Denver vying for the 2022 games, he says, "I want the Denver people a chance to make their case.  I have no animus against Olympics and love outdoor sports.  But how do they answer this?" 

Lamm then refers to Vancouver being $1 billion in debt after last month's Winter Games.

Worldwide exposure, tourism, marketing are all reasons to bring the Olympic Winter games to Colorado.

But Moran says bringing the spirit of the games to town is just as important.

"The games are something very special.  If you've ever asked anyone who's been in a city who got out and enjoyed it, it's one of the most memorable experiences in their life," says Moran.



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