The Lake Tahoe Winter Games Exploratory Committee announced last week that five U.S. Olympians have agreed to join its efforts to develop a bid for the Tahoe region for the Winter Olympics.
The announcement comes just weeks after the committee formed itself with civic leaders from both California and Nevada. The new organization supersedes two organizations that were previously exploring bids, the Sacramento-based California Winter Games Coalition and the Reno-based Reno-Lake Tahoe Winter Games Coalition.
The five Olympians — Andy Gabel, Bret Hedican, Jonny Moseley, Tamara McKinney and Kristi Yamaguchi — represent a diverse group of Winter Olympic sports, including downhill skiing, hockey, women's figure skating, speed skating and freestyle skiing.
“We are delighted to have such an impressive array of Olympians join our effort,” said Andy Wirth, CEO of SquawValley/Alpine Resorts and acting chair of the Lake Tahoe Winter Games Exploratory Committee. “The Olympic experience starts with the athletes themselves. We look forward to integrating the influence of these great champions into each and every aspect of our effort.”
Moseley, an Olympic gold medalist moguls skier who grew up training at Squaw Valley, touted the area's natural beauty.
“Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on the planet,” said Jonny Moseley, who won his gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Games. “In 1960, the world took a chance on making Squaw Valley its choice for the Olympics. We're proud to invite everyone back.”
McKinney, who grew up skiing at Squaw Valley before embarking on a successful career as an alpine racer, agreed.
“It is a magical place with great mountains that would anchor some of the most breathtaking downhill skiing events in history,” said McKinney, who won four World Cup season titles in her career. “Standing atop one of our peaks and looking at that beautiful Lake Tahoe will be a memory that everyone — Olympians and spectators alike — will never forget.”