Krolicki: Reno/Tahoe region must be prepared to make 2022 Winter Olympics bid
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; The 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley USA transformed the Lake Tahoe Basin from a sleepy unheralded playground for the wealthy few, to a world-class resort destination capable of supporting a thriving local economy and social fabric.
Much of the tourist accommodation infrastructure in the form of hotels, motels and vacation rentals were constructed in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. The famed sporting event also helped create the highway system around the lake connecting the small villages that dot Lake Tahoeand#8217;s picturesque shores.
Regional officials are hoping to replicate that transformation as efforts to bring the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to the Reno/Tahoe area have begun in earnest under the leadership of Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.
and#8220;The Olympic spirit thrived here 1960 at Squaw, and we are looking to build on that tradition,and#8221; said Krolicki, who chairs the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition. and#8220;While 2022 seems a long way away, this area needs to be prepared should the United States Olympic Committee call for a bid city.and#8221;
and#8220;The enthusiasm is palpable in this region,and#8221; he added. and#8220;This is a bi-state effort with officials in Nevada and California getting involved. The retail, hospitality and ski industry have all expressed interest in bringing the games here.and#8221;
The USOC remains mum on the possibility of Reno/Tahoe garnering a future Games.
and#8220;The USOC has no current plans to bid for any Olympics or Winter Olympic Games,and#8221; said USOC Director of Communications Mark Jones in a phone interview last week. He declined to elaborate further.
In October of this year, the cities of Annecy, France; Munich, Germany; and Pyeongchang, South Korea, made pitches to host the 2018 Winter Games. All three applicants were selected as candidate cities on June 22, 2010. The winning bid will be announced on July 6, 2011, at the 123rd International Olympic Committee Session in Durban, South Africa.
Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley USA, said his resort would welcome the opportunity to host the games for the second time.
and#8220;We would absolutely welcome the Olympics to come to this region, which would only further solidify this area as a world-class ski resort destination,and#8221; he said.
Wirth worked for The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, in 2002, when the Winter Olympic Games were held in the Salt Lake City area, and he was employed by Intrawest and#8212; which operates Whistler Blackcomb Resort, site of many of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games events and#8212; and saw first hand the benefits both regions accrued.
and#8220;The benefits truly serve the community,and#8221; he said. and#8220;The construction of infrastructure, the build-up of telecommunications networks provide a net positive that is more substantial than the exposure. However, showcasing the world-class facilities and resorts to a world-wide audience will be beneficial as well.and#8221;
and#8220;Salt Lake City has seen an explosion of private companies as a result of the games,and#8221; he said. and#8220;Itand#8217;s become a national center for data storage because of all the fiberoptic cables that were installed in the lead-up to the event.and#8221;
Salt Lake City also installed a Light Rail system and other transportation-related elements, Krolicki said.
and#8220;The 2022 Winter Games would be a spectacle for several weeks,and#8221; he said. and#8220;But the improvements made to the infrastructure of the Lake Tahoe Basin in the lead-up to the games would benefit residents for decades.and#8221;
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