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Reno-Tahoe drops out of Winter Olympics race

Utah Olympic Park, one of the sites of the 2002 Winter Olympics, as seen in March 2017. (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2017)

SALT LAKE CITY — The city of Reno, Nevada, is no longer pursuing a future Winter Olympic Games, leaving only Salt Lake and Denver to compete for a bid with the US Olympic Committee.

The Deseret News quoted the chairman of the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition as saying a bid no longer made sense for his city.

“We have maintained from the start that a Reno-Tahoe bid would have to make sense economically, environmentally and socially,” Brian Krolicki said in a news release. “Given the parameters and conditions presented, we cannot make the numbers pass muster. To continue, at this point, would be untenable and unwise.”

A five-member team of USOC officials was getting ready this week to conduct polling and site visits, including a Salt Lake City visit on Wednesday, to gauge public support and feasibility before choosing a city to pitch in a bid for a future Winter Games, likely 2030. Wednesday’s site visit was expected to include stops at the Utah Olympic Park, which hosted ski jumps used in the 2002 Games.

Many of Utah’s venues from the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics are not only still in use, but profitable, a factor local and state leaders have touted as reasons for the Games to revisit the area.

“The new norm – the IOC and the Olympic world now call it – is lining up existing venues, existing infrastructure and leveraging and utilizing them instead of creating new venues, new infrastructure,” explains Utah Sports Commission President and CEO Jeff Robbins. “We believe nobody does that better than Salt Lake City.”

According to Robbins, the commission isn’t worried about the showdown between Utah and Colorado.

“We’re focused on doing what we need to do, and we can’t worry about what other cities are doing. We’re just focusing on trying to showcase all the great things we have done and continue putting our best foot forward,” Robbins says.

Robbins says he hopes to have a decision by this December or January 2019.