When the United States Olympic Committee leadership – including newly appointed CEO Scott Blackmum – revealed Wednesday that they would consider a U.S. bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition immediately shifted into gear.
Jon Killoran, CEO of the bid Coalition spoke to GamesBids.com shortly after the news broke, barely containing his excitement.
“That’s very energizing and motivating – we’ve got a lot of great things going on here right now so the timing is perfect.”, he said
The region is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics and special ceremonies are underway.
“Any time you get a signal from the governing body for the country that they could be willing to look at a Winter bid for the next cycle, certainly that’s going to be something we hope to have as further opportunity to capitalize and to create more momentum in our region to move toward the bid.”
Nevada’s Lt. Governor and Chairman of the bid committee Brian Krolicki told GamesBids.com “we’re ecstatic with the news out of the USOC; we think it’s wise, we think it’s prudent; we are prepared.
“It gives us some energy and a shot in the arm.”
In Nevada, Krolicki chairs the Commission on Economic Development and the Commission on Tourism. He said that although Nevada is already an internationally popular travel destination, an Olympic Games would “enhance our abilities to attract tourists” and would be another opportunity to provide “exquisite hospitality” while further improving infrastructure and providing a physical legacy for decades.
“I think the infrastructure today in the Lake Tahoe Region is just light years beyond many other Winter resorts looking to host a Winter Games”, he added.
In the past the IOC has frowned upon multiple city bids but there is no indication how they may react to a bi-state bid that would add another governement to the mix. Reno-Tahoe venues would be divided across State lines and many of the ski slopes would be located in California, but Krolicki says this adds value to the bid.
“I think a joint venture between Nevada and California will also be attractive. There’s a glamour aspect to California and Lake Tahoe in Nevada that I think appeals to members on the International Olympic Committee as they make decisions.”
Killoran said that a bid team is already in place and the board is made up of members from both Nevada and California. On the board is Nancy Cushing, widow of Alex Cushing – the man behind the Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Games.
The Reno-Tahoe region is well suited for another Games – it has hotels in place with an airport nearby; the venues plan is compact including several world class ski resorts so some could be dedicated for Olympic events while others could remain open for visitors to enjoy during the Games; and there is already an Olympic history and Olympic story behind it.
The region is also well located to attract spectators and live television audiences. California’s state capital Sacramento is about 100 miles away, and just beyond that is the San Francisco Bay Area and 8 million people. California’s total population approaches 40 million.
But Killoran summed up the most compelling argument behind the Reno-Tahoe proposal, he said “we have this tremendous legacy of one of the most historic and romanced Winter Olympic Games of all-time in Squaw Valley in 1960.”
Reacting to the USOC news, the coalition has planned to expand its Board and bid team and will try to establish a presence at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games next month. But the USOC probably won’t start a domestic campaign until 2012 and nominations won’t be expected by the International Olympic Committee until 2013.
But Reno-Tahoe is ready to go today.
“I almost wish it were 2012 right now”, Killoran admitted.
Also expected to seek the USOC’s nomination for 2022 is Denver. Denver is infamous in Olympic circles because the City won the bid for the 1976 Winter Olympics but relinquished the opportunity to Innsbruck after a plebescite determined that the taxpayers were unwilling to pay for the Games. And last year representatives of Boseman, Montana said that they were considering a bid.
Currently the cities of Annecy France, Munich Germany and PyeongChang Korea are competing for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Earlier this week, the host of the 1992 Summer Games Barcelona Spain announced a possible bid for the 2022 Winter Games.