Did Coloradans Start A Trend Against Hosting The Olympics?

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Photo: Winter Olympics Sochi 2014 (AP)
Sergei Chudinov of Russia is seen in a multiple exposure photograph as he races down the track at the Sanki Sliding Centre during Heat 3 of the Men's Skeleton at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014.

"All over the world, the public — when given the opportunity to voice an opinion — has become increasingly disenchanted with hosting the Olympics." That's from a recent commentary in the Washington Post, written by economist Victor Matheson. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and studies "mega sporting events."

Matheson spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about what appears to be a growing trend: Boston, Toronto, Oslo, and Stockholm are among several cities that recently decided against bidding for the Olympic Games out of concerns about costs. They're following a lead set by Colorado in the 1970s, when voters rejected the opportunity to host the Games. Now, though, leaders in Denver want to try again.

Matheson On How Colorado Benefited From Utah's 2002 Winter Olympics:

"In 2002, when Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics, one of the businesses that did terribly during that month was actually ski resorts in Utah because all the condos were full of ski-watchers instead of people buying lift tickets and ski lessons and ski rentals.

"Actually one of the big beneficiaries of the 2002 Winter Olympics? Colorado ski resorts had a wonderful month, way above average, as people abandoned Utah and came to Colorado instead."

Why It Would Be Difficult For Colorado To Win Another Bid:

"First of all, they'd have an extremely hard time convincing International Olympic Committee voters with long memories that they weren't going to bail on them again.

"Also if the United States makes a bid at this and the IOC is really embracing the agenda 2020, where they're keeping costs down, it would be very hard for a Denver bid to come against a Salt Lake City bid.

"Salt Lake City put about $2 billion into their Olympics a decade ago. And they've actually kept most of their facilities up.

"So unlike Denver and the ski resorts here in Colorado where we'd have to build a bunch of new infrastructure, in particular, things like bobsled runs and distance skating events facilities, those facilities are actually still in place in Utah."

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