Olympics 2022 meeting scheduled in Incline | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Olympics 2022 meeting scheduled in Incline

Kevin MacMillan and Matthew Renda
Tahoe Daily Tribune

INCLINE VILLAGE. Nev. – As the Reno/Tahoe region positions itself to submit a proposal to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, officials plan to reveal some of the details and ask the public for donations in a meeting next week in Incline Village.

The Friday, Feb. 4 meeting is free and open to the public. It takes place at 2:30 p.m. on the Sierra Nevada College campus in the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, Room 139.

“We have a vested interest in the educational, economic and environmental vitality of this region,” said SNC President Richard Rubsamen. “We welcome the exploration of a Winter Games bid that could enhance the quality of all these areas.”

Aside from hearing about prep work for a potential bidding opportunity, attendees will learn how they can become involved with the project by becoming a member of the “Founder’s Ring.”

“We started this program about two months ago and already have a wave of people and businesses coming on board.” said Jon Killoran, chief executive officer of the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition, in a statement. “This is an exclusive chance for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that could mean so much for all of us who call this beautiful area home.”

The “Founder’s Ring” is a public fundraising drive, Killoran said in Wednesday interview, in which residents and business owners can donate $1,000 a year for the next three years. An under-30 group also is part of the ring, Killoran said, and those younger residents can pledge $500 for the next three years.

Since the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, it relies on fundraising to enhance its cause, Killoran said.

“We want to allow some of the important residents (at Lake Tahoe) to be able to invest their time and talent in this great opportunity,” he said. “We really want to get people on board.”

The three-year concept surrounding the “Founder’s Ring,” Killoran said, is due to the likelihood that should the United States Olympic Committee decide to purse a Reno/Tahoe bid for 2022, regional officials would know in about three years.

In a December 2010 interview, the USOC remained mum on the possibility of Reno/Tahoe garnering a future Games.

“The USOC has no current plans to bid for any Olympics or Winter Olympic Games,” said USOC Director of Communications Mark Jones. He declined to elaborate further.

In October 2009, 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.

The drive for 2022

It was revealed late in 2010 that regional officials, after failed attempts at previous Winter Olympics bids, were forming again to assess the possibility of bringing the 2022 Games to the region, under the leadership of Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.

The Winter Games were held in 1960 at Squaw Valley USA. Their presence here, officials say, led to the transformation of 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.

“The Olympic spirit thrived here in 1960 at Squaw, and we are looking to build on that tradition,” said Krolicki, who chairs the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition. “While 2022 seems a long way away, this area needs to be prepared should the United States Olympic Committee call for a bid city.”

“The enthusiasm is palpable in this region,” he added. “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.”

Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley USA, said his resort would welcome the opportunity to host the games for the second time.

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 – which operates Whistler Blackcomb Resort, site of many of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games events – and saw first hand the benefits both regions accrued.

“The benefits truly serve the community,” he said. “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.”

Krolicki agreed: “The 2022 Winter Games would be a spectacle for several weeks. But the improvements made to the infrastructure of the Lake Tahoe Basin in the lead-up to the games would benefit residents for decades.”

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