Denver has never hosted a full-blown Olympics. But the Mile High City is currently jumping through hoops to be selected as the site for Olympic-style games in 2022.
Denver is the running to host the Gay Games, a weeklong sporting and cultural event that would bring in as many as 15,000 competitors and as much as $80 million in economic impacts. The Denver 2022 group has been working on this effort for two years and this week is submitting a 300-page bid proposal that organizers hope will vault it onto the site-selection podium. Nine cities are currently in the running and the top three will be announced in February. The site winner will be announced next fall.
Denver's host-city competitors for the site selection are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Washington D.C., Hong Kong and Guadalajara.
Denver's proposal includes 36 sports that range from darts and table tennis to sport climbing and rugby. And even though promoters want to focus on Denver as a cosmopolitan city rather than a cowtown, a rodeo would be held in conjunction with the games. Venues for the sporting events would include Coors Field, city parks and university field houses. Cultural events would be held in theaters, museums and parks.
Organizers of the Denver 2022 site-selection push say having the games in the Mile High City would not only showcase its sports, arts and cultural facilities: it would also tie together a variety of local organizations and highlight the metro area's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. Organizers say, win or lose, they will use the site-selection framework and network to make a diversity push beginning next year.
The inclusiveness of the Gay Games isn't just gender-oriented. The games attract some world-class athletes. But amateurs will be happy to note that anyone can participate: games include all levels of expertise. And everyone goes home with a medal.
Kent Seidel of Denver 2022 spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.
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