In 1963, Colorado Governor John A. Love delivered a speech in Colorado Springs which mentioned Colorado serving as host for the Olympics.
In 1967, the Denver Organizing Committee (DOC) for the 1976 Winter Olympics was formed. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chose Denver, Colorado, as its official candidate for the 1976 Winter Olympics bid. Other contenders included Lake Placid, New York; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Seattle, Washington.
In 1971, opposition to Colorado hosting the 1976 Winter Games grew.
Speakers at a Colorado State Legislative Committee meeting in March 1971 asserted economic and environmental objections to Colorado hosting the Games. The Denver Organizing Committee (DOC) interpreted these comments to be directed towards the location of events in particular communities—not to the Olympics as a whole.
By 1972, several Olympic events were relocated. The alpine events site was moved from Loveland Basin and Mount Sniktau to Vail, and Nordic, bobsled and luge events were relocated from Denver Mountain Parks to Steamboat Springs. The distance from Denver to the new sites was greater, but the DOC believed buses, trains and air transportation would be effective in getting athletes, coaches, judges, spectators and members of the press to these locations.
As projected costs to host the Games rose, public concern escalated. Representative Richard Lamm led a group to organize a referendum to deny Colorado Olympic funding for the November 1972 ballot. On November 7, 1972, Colorado voters, concerned about the financial burden and environmental impact of the Olympic Games on their state, rejected a $5 million bond issue that would fund the event.
Want to learn more? See the following resources located in the DPL's Western History and Genealogy Department:
- The Denver Winter Olympics Controversy by Rick Reese
- Fire on the Mountain: Growth and Conflict in Colorado Ski Country by Michael Wayne Childers (dissertation)
- Clipping file (Olympic Games. Winter. 1976. Denver United States Candidate For The Xii Winter Olympic Games)
- Newspaper articles (available on microfilm)
- Denver Organizing Committee for the 1976 Winter Olympics Records, 1967-1976 (WH1143)
- Citizens for Colorado's Future Records, 1971-1972 (-M881)
- Published plans and reports related to the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Colorado
- 1976 Denver Olympic promotional film (from the Denver Chamber of Commerce Records, WH1216)
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