A model of a proposed speed-skating arena that was to be built near South High School for the 1976 Winter Olympics Games in Denver — the ones that didn't happen.
A model of a proposed speed-skating arena that was to be built near South High School for the 1976 Winter Olympics Games in Denver — the ones that didn't happen.
Denver Public Library

Reader: We Don't Have the Highway Infrastructure to Handle the Olympics

The long-awaited decision from the Winter Games Exploratory Committee regarding whether Denver should pursue the Olympics came down on Friday, June 1, and it was entirely predictable. The committee is encouraging not just the Mile High City, but all of Colorado to pursue future Olympic Games, but with some stipulations (see the end of this post for more on those).

Response from readers was fast and largely furious, as they overwhelmingly rejected the committee's decision.

Ryan says:

I'd prefer if Colorado was the only state to turn it down, twice.

Phyllis adds:

Nope, we don't have a highway infrastructure to handle the Olympics.

Zack explains:

Denver can and should focus on affordable housing.

Alex notes:

Naw, they can go back to Salt Lake City.

Says Meredith:

Ugh. I-70 can't take the strain. Fix it, add a train and we can talk. Until then, I will vote no.

John argues:

All they need to show me is one example that didn’t go flying off the tracks into the land of lost revenue, abandoned event sites, extreme congestion and mountains of failed promises, and maybe I’d consider it. Until that fairy tale becomes reality, easy pass on the Olympic scam.

And then there's this rare positive note from Chuck: 

I love the idea.

Keep reading for more stories about Colorado's troubled relationship with the Olympics.

NOlympics supporters under Governor Richard Lamm's portrait at the Capitol.
NOlympics supporters under Governor Richard Lamm's portrait at the Capitol.
Westword

"Just Say No: Dick Lamm Returns to Capitol as Co-Chair of NOlympics"

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

"Eight Events Only a Denver Olympics Could Host"

Business and political leaders, including Colorado Lieutenant Governor John Vanderhoof (third from left), Governor John Love (second from right) and Denver Mayor Tom Currigan (far right) worked for years on a successful bid to host the ’76 Winter Olympics.
Business and political leaders, including Colorado Lieutenant Governor John Vanderhoof (third from left), Governor John Love (second from right) and Denver Mayor Tom Currigan (far right) worked for years on a successful bid to host the ’76 Winter Olympics.
Denver Public Library

"Denver Exploring Bid for Winter Olympics, Paralympic Winter Games"

Mount Sniktau, proposed site of the downhill and slalom races, was airbrushed with snow in Denver’s promotional literature as part of its ’76 bid.
Mount Sniktau, proposed site of the downhill and slalom races, was airbrushed with snow in Denver’s promotional literature as part of its ’76 bid.
Denver Public Libraries

"How a Citizen Revolt Snuffed the 1976 Denver Winter Olympics"

The Winter Games Exploratory Committee's concept calls for an approach that wouldn't require "direct" funding from taxpayers and recommends that any efforts in regard to 2020 and beyond be submitted to a statewide vote in advance.

These components are unlikely to placate NOlympics, a group opposed to Colorado pursuing the Winter Games in 2030 that staged a demonstration at the State Capitol in March. Among the speakers was former governor and NOlympics co-chair Dick Lamm, a central figure in the movement that pulled the plug on the state playing host to the spectacle more than forty years ago.

Despite this epic rejection, various groups have flirted with the idea of romancing the Olympics again. And late last year, the notion rose to the fore again, with Mayor Michael Hancock among its most enthusiastic proponents. As the committee did its work, the push extended to officials from around the state. “A statewide referendum gives Coloradans the chance to weigh in on the potential to host a Winter Games,” Governor John Hickenlooper said in an announcement accompanying the final report. “We handle crowds much greater than the typical Winter Games attendance without significant congestion or other impacts to the state. This report shows how a Winter Games could provide long term economic, social and environmental benefits.” Read that full report here.

Should Denver host the Olympics? Let us know in a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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