Opinion: Could Nevada host the Winter Olympics?

Posted at 12:42 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 16:44:51-04

After 26 years, the Olympics are finally coming back to the United States

The Los Angeles Times says that L.A. will host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games, meaning that the 2024 games will likely go to Paris.

It's good news for the country, though disheartening to those that wanted the Winter Olympic Games to come to Nevada.

Reno-Tahoe officials have been pushing to host the games in 2026. However, since L.A. got the bid for the 2028 games, Nevada will probably put its Olympic aspirations on hold for a few more years. 

Jan 20, 2002: The Olympic Flame burns in front of the 1960 Winter Olympic Flame during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay in Squaw Valley, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

But say that our state was hypothetically still in the running to host the Games in 2026. Could we pull it off?

If it was truly a statewide effort, it's possible.

It's a given that the Reno-Tahoe area is capable of handling the bulk of the snow sports like skiing snowboarding. Historically, the city's efforts to host the Games are what eventually led to the Squaw Valley Olympics in 1960. 

But multiple venues in Las Vegas are well-equipped to host sports on the ice. The World Men's Curling Championships are being held at the Orleans Arena next year, and the T-Mobile Arena is already home to professional hockey. And with a $1.9 billion Raiders stadium coming to the Las Vegas valley, the city will have the perfect venue for a killer opening ceremony. 

There are serious financial risks in hosting the Olympics, as seen with the Summer Games in Rio. But when done right the event can seriously boost a state's economy.

In 2002 alone, Utah saw $4.8 billion in sales and $1.5 billion in earnings for local workers when the Games arrived in Salt Lake City. Ten years later, the state saw a 42 percent increase in skier visits, and spending from skiers and snowboarders went up from $704 million in 2002-03 to $1.2 billion in 2010-11.