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Mountain News: Denver contemplates Olympic bid



DENVER, Colo. - Although it's three years until the U.S. Olympic Committee decides whether to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, plenty of chattering is underway in Colorado about just such a bid.

Still hanging over Colorado is its history. Denver had been selected to host the 1976 Olympics, but in 1972 Colorado voters refused to extend subsidies. Evidence had accumulated that Olympic organizers were guilty of both arrogance and incompetence. In addition, Colorado then had been growing rapidly and many feared the Olympics would fuel further growth.

But that was then. Growth occurred anyway. Denver's air, if still too often foul, has improved markedly. And members of the International Olympic Committee who took the rejection by Colorado as a personal snub have mostly passed on.

Dick Lamm, a former governor who had spearheaded opposition, told the Denver Post he has been approached by the contemporary Olympic boosters. "They were definitive that there was going to be no 'trust us' this time around," he said.

The newspaper interviewed both leading candidates in this year's gubernatorial election in Colorado. Neither Scott McInnis nor John Hickenlooper said absolutely yes, but both suggested interest. "Having the Olympics would be a strong inducement to get the federal government to partner with us on solutions for I-70. And that's something we have to do anyway. That connection with the mountains is one of the things that makes Denver what it is," said Hickenlooper.

But upgrading traffic-clogged I-70 isn't a prerequisite, suggested KieAnn Brownlee, president of the Denver Metro Sports Commission, a group created several years ago to investigate a possible bid. She told the newspaper that I-70 is already better than the two-lane 24-mile road that took fans to the alpine skiing events in Torino, Italy.

Salt Lake City received $1 billion in federal aid to improve transportation in Salt Lake City. But Salt Lake's Winter Games cost $1 billion, noted Robert Barney, founding director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario.

The bottom line seems to be that Colorado now has greater interest in an Olympic bid than at any time in the last 40 years - but, at least for the moment, is considering this with eyes wide open.


Investigation of fatal slide begins

REVELSTOKE, B.C. - Two days before the fatalities, the Revelstoke Times Review reported a special avalanche alert. But for whatever reason, organizers of the Big Iron Shootout proceeded with their informal snowmobile gathering on Boulder Mountain.

At about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, a giant avalanche that was nearly 150 metres wide ran for nearly two-thirds of a mile. Two people died in the avalanche and several dozen more were injured, at least one of them critically, reported the Times Review . Victims were taken to hospitals hundreds of miles east and west, from Calgary to Kelowna.