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IOC boss: post-Sochi cost-cutting plan sparks interest in Winter Olympics

U.S. cities, states intrigued by potential for infrastructure improvements

February 6, 2015, 8:54 am
IOC chief Thomas Bach

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks to reporters Tuesday in Beaver Creek (David O. Williams photo).

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said this week the IOC’s new agenda urging lower costs for host cities has spurred more interest in bidding on the Winter Olympics, but he wouldn’t discuss the implications for future U.S. bids.

“After the approval of the Olympic Agenda 2020 [in December] we have seen a good interest in many areas of the world, and we are in contact with some of these countries, but it is too early to tell whether in the end this will materialize,” Bach said at a press conference Tuesday during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

The new agenda was adopted after several 2022 bidders were scared off by the staggering $51 billion Russia spent hosting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, much of it reportedly for infrastructure. The agenda is a strategic roadmap of 40 recommendations “for more flexibility in the bid process, a stronger emphasis on legacy, lower costs and improved sustainability.”

Asked how the new agenda might impact future U.S. Winter Olympic bids in interested cities such as Denver, Bach said the focus now is on the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympic programs.

“It’s too early,” Bach said. “I will see the Boston bid leaders [Tuesday] afternoon in Colorado. I think my welcome would be a little bit cold if I speak now about a U.S. [winter] bid for 2026.”

Boston was selected last month by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which have not been held in the U.S. since Atlanta in 1996.

Salt Lake City was the last U.S. host of the Winter Olympics in 2002, and is interested again.

The Salt Lake City Winter Olympics cost about $2 billion to host in 2002, and the metro area benefited hugely from highway and mass transit improvements—a legacy proponents say gives the city a leg up in pursuing future games under the new bidding agenda.

In Colorado, an Olympic bid is seen by some state and local officials as a possible catalyst for high-speed rail or other transportation infrastructure improvement along the sometimes gridlocked Interstate 70 corridor connecting Denver to mountain resorts up to 150 miles to the west.

This story first appeared in Government Executive State & Local. Go to their website to read more.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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