2026 Olympics: Denver probes public opinion as Calgary hears positive noises
An exploratory committee in Denver, Colorado that it considering a possible bid by the US city to host the winter Olympic Games in 2026 or 2030 has launched a public outreach process to test public opinion, and invited more than 200 people to serve on advisory groups in coming weeks.
Two new websites have been launched canvassing public opinion, with Explorethegames.com carrying basic information about a possible Denver bid, while Sharethegold.org carries a community survey.
Rob Cohen, chair of the Denver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Exploratory Committee, said: “The first part of the committee is to look at the ‘could,’ and the second part of the committee is to look at ‘should we host the games?’ What are the benefits, what are the challenges and does it make sense for us to do it?
“What we’re trying to do is… move away from the vocal minorities that may be either very for or very against [a bid], and really get a sense and a pulse for what our community at large thinks about this. At the end of the day, that’s the big aspect on the ‘should’ [question].”
The committee has said that hosting the games could cost $2 billion, with the International Olympic Committee contributing $950 million and with the rest to be financed privately, rather than with taxpayers’ money.
Cohen said that the committee has identified three event venues that Colorado lacks for a bid: a ski-jump; a bobsleigh and luge track; and a Nordic-skiing centre. He said that the committee is exploring options for building those facilities, either temporarily or permanently.
Denver could face competition to represent USA in bidding to host the 2026 winter Olympics from Salt Lake City and Reno-Tahoe.
Earlier, Larry Probst, the US Olympic Committee chairman, said that it would “ideally” prefer to pursue a bid to host the games in 2030, not in 2026, to avoid “confusion with the preparations for 2028.” Los Angeles is hosting the (summer) Olympic Games in 2028.
Meanwhile, over the border in Canada, Calgary’s city council has been told that there are “strong indications” that provincial and federal governments will back a planned rival bid to host the 2026 games.
Kyle Ripley, head of the city’s Olympic file, said: “The commitment shown by the federal and provincial governments [has] given administration a sense of confidence that funding of the BidCo [Bid Corporation] will be approved by both orders of government.”
A draft city bid budget allocates C$30 million to a bid - C$10.5 million from the federal government, C$10 million from the province, and the rest from the city.
The provincial and federal governments are due to decide next month whether to approve spending on the bid.
US and Canadian bids for the 2026 games could be up against others from Sion in Switzerland, which has declared its intention to bid, and Graz and Schladming, two cities located in the Austrian province of Styria, which recently said that they are exploring the possibility of launching a bid. Sapporo (Japan) and Stockholm (Sweden) are both mulling their options.
The IOC will select the host of the 2026 winter Olympics in 2019.