Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock have formed an exploratory committee to consider the benefits and costs of a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Denver, The Denver Post reports. The work of the committee will help determine whether or not Colorado will submit a proposal to the United States Olympic Committee.
It was first reported back in August that Hancock and Hickenlooper were beginning to consider bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympic games.
Hickenlooper has said in the past that he sees the opportunity to host the Winter Games as a chance to finally upgrade I-70 into the mountains, without the state footing the bill, according to Fox31. Just as Mitt Romney, who served as CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, had success in using federal dollars to enhance Utah’s infrastructure in the preparation for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Hickenlooper sees the same potential in Colorado.
But, the big concern is cost. Would Colorado tax payers tolerate a tax increase in order to help fund the Games in this current flagging economic climate? Earlier in 2011, The Colorado Independent reported that the last U.S. Olympic Games was in Salt Lake City in 2002, Utah and that cost $2 billion.
"The opportunity to pursue the Games is an endeavor worth taking very seriously," Hickenlooper said in a press release. "We've asked this exploratory committee to explore all issues relevant to Denver potentially submitting a bid to the USOC. Those issues include making certain any bid would be financially sound and will help economic growth in the state."
Hickenlooper and Hancock may have their work cut out for them in selling this idea to Colorado voters -- Colorado is the only state to have ever rejected the Games, according to 9News. In 1976 Denver was supposed to host the Winter Olympics and voters rejected it due to not wanting to spend the tax dollars.
The snubbing that the City of Denver gave the Olympics in 1976 would not be a factor in a 2022 bid. Jaques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told The Associated Press in October that, "The issue of Denver is not an issue anymore. There is absolutely no grudge whatsoever in the IOC for what happened in Denver more than 40 years ago"
But there are already early supporters. For one, Philip Hersh, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said in August that his vote is for Denver in 2022, "There is no doubt when and where the next Olympics in the United States should be: Denver. 2022."