Eight Events Only a Denver Olympics Could Host

With apologies to Elton John...don't let the sun go down on the IOC.
With apologies to Elton John...don't let the sun go down on the IOC. vgallova at Flickr
The committee formed by Mayor Michael Hancock to examine whether Denver should bid on a future Winter Olympics — probably in 2030 — met for the first time last week. What decision it comes to will almost certainly be informed by Colorado's refusal to pay to host the 1976 games —  a legendary move inspired not just by daunting financial figures but unanswered environmental questions, and one that helped propel Dick Lamm into the governor's mansion.

But the past, it seems, is past. Now Denver is interested again, and all city-who-cried-wolf warnings notwithstanding, the International Olympic Committee seems open to a bid. What would the Denver Olympics have to offer that would make them stand out as unique? Let’s start with these eight "sports."

8. Snowboarding and Smoking
It’s like Colorado’s version of the Biathlon. Who does skeet shooting anymore? This isn’t Norway in the eighteenth century, and there’s not a whole lot of call for the combination of skiing and shooting rifles these days. Do you know what most people in Denver call snowboarding after smoking a bowl or two? Just snowboarding.

7. Balance I-Beam
Let’s bring gymnastics into the Winter Olympics, too, this time requiring that gymnasts do their balance-beam routine on icy I-Beams at the multitudinous construction sites throughout RiNo and downtown. We can make sure there are nets, of course — no need to make this particular event more dangerous than it has to be. But just think of the dismounts!

6. Ice Biking
Denverites do it during rush hour at least a few days out of every winter, so give the X Games crowd something to do with their BMX bikes: Slap on some studded tires and race the downtown circuit through traffic. Bonus points awarded for actually stopping at lights and signage!

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen