Many Eyeing Possible Return of Reno-Tahoe Olympics - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Many Eyeing Possible Return of Reno-Tahoe Olympics

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Two North American cities have hosted the Winter Olympics since 2002 - Salt Lake City and Vancouver. And some are hoping the torch will return to Reno-Tahoe for the first time since the Squaw Valley Games in 1960.

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The U.S. hockey team won its first Olympic gold medal more than a half-century ago at Squaw Valley. Back then, there were 27 events. Today, that has grown to nearly 100.

And while the numbers have changed -- the Olympic spirit hasn't. "That heritage has always lasted. There's always been the specter of the Olympic movement in this region. And that just continues to grow," says Jon Killoran, Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition.

Fifteen athletes from Reno-Tahoe are competing in the Sochi Games. People like Jamie Anderson and Julia Mancuso -- who have both already medaled.

And Killoran says that puts our area on display. "Every time one of our athletes is competing, you're hearing them identified as a Lake Tahoe or Reno native or something like that. And that's wonderful."

Sochi has spent more than $50-billion to put on the Olympics. Killoran says if Reno receives a bid, a good model would be the Salt Lake Games that cost about $3-billion -- with a positive impact on the area. "I remember reading some studies that they expected to see a bump in tourism, economy, business opportunities maybe five years outside of the games. They're still reaping rewards today and we're more than a decade removed from those '02 games in Salt Lake City."

Since the Olympics won't come here for at least 12 years, Killoran says the venues and infrastructure may already be in place. "We have had tremendous work done in venue identification and transportation situations and the environment is hugely important with Lake Tahoe being part of this picture in our pristine region."

In the meantime, Nevada may be gaining exposure in other ways. Last month, Las Vegas hosted a 4-day international curling event. "36 of the 48 curlers, men and women that competed, are now competing for their countries in Sochi. So, it was a high level, elite effort. It ultimately became the most highly attended curling event in U.S. history."

Later this year, Reno will be the first North American city to host the World Curling Federation's annual congress. Some of those board members and stakeholders are on the International Olympic Committee. "When they see our region, see what we have to offer, they leave with a very favorable impression of this city and this region."

A few of the board members from the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition are in Sochi right now. Building and nurturing relationships with the Olympic committee in hopes of bringing the games here.

Written by Paul Nelson

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