Reno a Winter Olympics contender as USOC considers bid – The Mercury News

By EDDIE PELLS

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Reno is among three cities mentioned as possible hosts should the  U.S. Olympic Committee decide to bid for the Winter Olympics in 2026 or 2030.

The other two are Denver and Salt Lake City, committee CEO Scott Blackmun said at a press conference on Monday.

Blackmun said the USOC board will meet next month to discuss the possibility.

The chairman of the group that brought the 2028 Summer Games to Los Angeles was in Park City on Tuesday for the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit. Many of the questions he fielded involved whether a U.S. bid for an upcoming Winter Games might make sense.

“Twenty-six is complicated, obviously,” Casey Wasserman said. “Obviously, there are real challenges from a timing perspective, two years before us. But I think our approach has been, the Olympic Games, whether summer or winter, are good for American athletes.”

The same country hasn’t hosted back-to-back Olympics since before World War II, though when the International Olympic Committee scrapped its traditional rules and awarded 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles) at the same time, it indicated it was certainly open to new ideas.

“(IOC President) Thomas Bach has publicly stated he’d like to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location, and to me, that’s code for Europe or North America,” said USOC chairman Larry Probst, speaking to the fact that the hosts for 2014, 2018 and 2022 are Russia, South Korea and China. “We’ve got to look at that, then develop a strategy about whether we’re going to bid for the (2026) Winter Games or beyond that.”

Denver and Reno would be behind the curve compared with Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002, and what remains there and in Park City pretty much adheres to Agenda 2020, the blueprint that Bach set for future Olympics, which calls for less spending on new venues and infrastructure.

The area has maintained an Olympic speedskating oval and a Nordic skiing course, and the Utah Olympic Park remains an active training ground for action sports

Leaders of the movement to bring the games back to Utah have largely stayed quiet, not wanting to take the limelight from Los Angeles, which helped the U.S. put a stop to a long string of embarrassing losses on the Olympic bid front. But a handful have told The Associated Press that there is enthusiasm for a potential bid if the USOC will sign on.

“There’s fantastic momentum to have the Games come back. I think we could do it for a very affordable price compared to the rest of the world,” said Ted Morris, the executive director of U.S. Speedskating, which is based in the Salt Lake City area. “In my opinion, looking at ’26 is probably not realistic, but ’30 seems like an opportunity.”

Denver was awarded the 1976 Winter Games but withdrew, and the event went to Innsbruck, Austria.

In 1960, Squaw Valley, Calif. — about 30 miles from Reno — hosted the Winter Games. There were 665 athletes in the competition; recent Winter Olympics have seen four times that many.

 

 

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