DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee voted unanimously in support of pursuing the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. But not everyone wants the games to come to Colorado.
“Was it right for Denver, was it right for the state of Colorado, and in that way we looked it and and we concluded that it was,” said Olympic Exploratory Committee spokesman Ken Lund.
Lund said it makes good business sense for Denver. He said Denver would be left with the infrastructure to generate new business.
The committee cites a previous host city, Salt Lake City, in which the games created a $100 million in revenue left over after the games ended.
“We looked at host cities that had been successful at hosting the games and also cities that had bid and not been selected,” said Lund.
Cities around the world have found the Summer Games costly with little return. But the endorsement committee said Winter Games are different, providing added benefit and considerably lower costs.
Opponents believe what’s needed to make Denver ready for such a major event would be too costly and come at too high a price for Colorado.
“When you look at city after city that has had the Olympics they’re usually left with a large bill afterwards,” said Independence Institute Jon Caldera.
The committee endorsing the idea disagrees saying that American Olympics since the 80s have been mostly privately funded.
“The people who want it back are the people who make money off of this. That’s usually the economic development crowd, something like this is rife with corporate welfare,” said Caldera.
Denver was awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics, but voters later rejected the idea over concerns about pollution and sprawl. Those games were eventually held in Innsbruck, Austria.
Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock released this joint statement about the bid, “We want to thank the Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee for their thorough, objective work to evaluate a potential Olympic bid. It is great news to learn about the Committee’s unanimous support of a bid and we deeply appreciate the research and expertise offered in the report. We will take due consideration of the report, which will inform our decisions on next steps.”
Communities around Lake Tahoe, Calif., have already expressed interest in hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics. A host for those games won’t be announced until 2015.
The final decision is up to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“Communities have found that the bid process itself has value for pulling the community together,” said Lund.