Denver explores bid for Winter Olympic Games

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Denver is forming an exploratory group to host the Olympic Winter Games.

A group of community and civic leaders representing broad interests from across Colorado will be meeting in the coming weeks about submitting a bid to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The Denver Exploratory Committee will identify the opportunities and challenges of a bid based on facts gathered by people who have worked on the issue.

The committee will examine the financial issues, the feasibility and the economic impact of a potential bid, as well as answer questions about such things as protocol, timing, venue requirements and process. Committee members will then present their findings to Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock.

“The opportunity to pursue the games is an endeavor worth taking very seriously,” Hickenlooper said. “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. We would also want to find ways to showcase Colorado as the healthiest state in the nation for work and play no matter of a bid’s outcome.”

The Denver Exploratory Committee will be co-chaired by community leaders Anne Warhover, CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation and Don Elliman, executive director of the Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology at the University of Colorado Medical School . None of the committee members are from Colorado Springs.

However, the USOC might not be interested – at least not yet.

“We are aware Denver is forming an exploratory committee to look at the possibility of a bid for an Olympic Winter Games,” said Patrick Sandusky, Chief Communications Officer for the USOC. “As we have stated to Denver and other interested cities, the USOC is not focused on bids at this time.”

Elliman said there is no bid without the USOC.

“The USOC is working diligently with the International Olympic Committee on a number of important topics, and we do not intend to get in the way of the immense work that both organizations have done to date,” Elliman said. “Our intent is to form a clear leadership group from the state and city to evaluate if the Olympic Winter Games is a good fit for Denver and Colorado.”