Here we go again. Denver is officially exploring whether or not to throw its Broncos cap into the Olympic ring for consideration to host either the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games. There’s a lot to work out, if we do — including whether or not the public will support it this time around. It was Denver, after all, that in 1972 voted down the $5 million bond issue meant to fund an Olympics, planned for America’s Bicentennial year. So will the exploratory committee formed by Mayor Hancock decide to submit the bid? Will the International Olympic Committee forget that Denver was sort of a medal-tease, and instead of rolling its eyes and graciously declining Denver's bid, actually come back for more? And if we do get the nod, will the good folks of Denver even allow it to happen?
Let’s imagine for a moment that all signs point to yes, and that the Olympics come to the Mile High City. To mark the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, let's imagine what it might be like in eight or twelve years, when Denver could have a similar event of our own. What might that look like? Here are our ten best guesses.
10. Elway lighting the torch
Seriously, this is Denver. Who else is it gonna be?
9. Ice-dancing Blucifers
And not just Blucifer. You can bet serious money that most of our notable public art would be front and center. Nightmare horses, big blue bears, and moon-white gigantic dancing puppets all skating around a huge tree-like pile of the glowing kidneys that are part of "National Velvet" on the 16th Street Pedestrian Bridge. As we see every day, naturally, on the snow-packed streets and in the icy true spirit of our frozen city.
8. The Dick Lamm fit-throwing speakers corner
Still oppose Denver hosting the Olympics? Here’s your designated spot for freedom of speech.
7. The ceremonial beating of one more drums than China had
Because of the high cost of hosting the games, Denver will present a multitude of drummers (one drummer more than China had back in 2008, naturally) that will not only be festive but, taking a cue from the buskers on the 16th Street Mall, will also accept donations in small, sweat-stained hats stationed at the base of every drum. It's all in keeping with the theme of the Denver Winter Games: "Wow, can we not afford to be doing this."
6. The bleary-eyed ghost of Bob Costas
He’ll be a thing of legend, flitting between the shadows cast by the Olympic torchlight, one eye bright, the other bloodied, dressed in a faded NBC blazer and rambling through color commentary for a slalom competition from 1992. ... Wait, Bob Costas is still alive, living in seclusion on an estate in Boca? Never mind.
5. Lots of snowmakers
Because global warming does not a fucking winter wonderland make.
4. So. Much. Pot.
Sure, it’s a restricted substance in terms of participation in the Games, but by the roaring 2020s, public use will almost certainly be not just legal, but the norm. So, yeah, the contact high wafting from the crowds alone will probably be enough to get every athlete disqualified after they run their doping drug tests. Sorry we ruined everything, Olympics.
3. Too many cowboys
Yes, Denver used to be a cowtown. Yes, we still have the Stock Show, when we pretend for a while that such a thing is still a thing, and we wear our pristine cowboy hats and chaw on a thistle and dirty up our jeans as though we don’t usually wear them on Casual Fridays. But this isn’t the Wild West anymore, and hasn’t been for some time. Just wait until we have to proclaim an identity to the rest of the world, though. It’ll be a mess of Western clichés, plus skiing.
2. John Hickenlooper parachuting from a crop duster
This won’t be part of the ceremony, really. It’s just something our by-then-former-but-still-hammy governor will do now and again once he’s out of politics. As he plummets through the thin Mile High air, he’ll be heard crying: “I was honorary chair of the exploratory committeeeeeeeeeeeee….”
1. Notification to the IOC of Denver's immediate withdrawal from consideration as host city
Look, we’ve thought about it, and we just don’t think hosting is the best idea for Denver right now. It’s not you, Olympics, it’s us. Again.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.