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January 22, 2018

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Nevada coalition will pursue Olympic dreams despite U.S. committee’s decision

U.S. Olympic Committee announces it will not bid for 2022 Winter Games, will focus on Games in 2024 or 2026

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Brian Krolicki

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who has spent seven years leading the effort to bring the Winter Olympic Games to Nevada, said organizers would continue to meet and plan despite a U.S. Olympic Committee decision not to bid to host the event in 2022.

Krolicki, who chairs the state’s Tourism Commission and has said bringing the Olympics to the state would showcase Nevada’s winter sports amenities, said organizers are disappointed with the committee’s decision but respect the process and the strategy.

“It’s not the desired outcome we had hoped for, but we embrace the decisions made by the Olympic Committee,” Krolicki said Monday. “We support them and what they believe is in the best interests of the Olympic movement in this country.

“It’s always been about the journey, so the journey has been extended by four years.”

Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that it would forgo bidding to host the 2022 Winter Games in the United States and focus instead on pursuing the 2024 Summer Games, the 2026 Winter Games or both.

A bi-state effort by Nevada and California to host the 2022 Games was picking up steam after the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee reached an agreement on sponsorship and broadcast revenue sharing. Krolicki told the Tourism Commission last month that the agreement, reached in May, helped clear the way for a successful bid in 2022.

The Nevada-California effort was one of four prospective U.S. venues looking to host the 2022 event. Others included Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Games; Denver, which was awarded the Games in 1976 but rejected them after a voter referendum; and Bozeman, Mont., considered a long-shot to field a successful bid.

Krolicki said local organizers’ plans would become clearer after meetings Thursday and Friday by the Lake Tahoe Winter Games Exploratory Committee. He said one option would be to continue efforts to develop venues for world-class winter sports competitions to continue to draw attention to Lake Tahoe.

In a conference call last week, Larry Probst, chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and Scott Blackmun, CEO of the organization, said a subcommittee would be named in the next couple of weeks to strategize on the best chance for bringing the Olympics back to U.S. soil. The last time the Olympic torch was lit in the United States was in Salt Lake City in 2002. Atlanta hosted the Summer Games in 1996.

The subcommittee is expected to report to the Olympic Committee by its December meeting.

Denver organizers, who enthusiastically endorsed bidding for the Games in 2022, indicated they would ramp down their efforts now that the bid process has been set back four years. Utah’s exploratory committee was still considering a recommendation when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its announcement.

The Lake Tahoe Winter Games Exploratory Committee was formed by two groups coming together, the Sacramento-based California Winter Games Coalition and the Reno-based Reno-Lake Tahoe Winter Games Coalition.

The newly formed exploratory committee enlisted five Olympians — Andy Gabel, Bret Hedican, Jonny Moseley, Tamara McKinney and Kristi Yamaguchi — to boost the Nevada-California effort.

Olympic events likely would be staged at the Heavenly ski resort and in Reno and at Squaw Valley and Sacramento. Squaw Valley hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960.

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