As the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics,
The Reno Tahoe area is steeped in Olympic tradition with the 1960 Winter Games held at Squaw Valley and along the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. In fact, if you’ve ever skied at Squaw Valley, then chances are you noticed the large Olympic rings adorning the signs at the entrance of Olympic Valley. And, many would like to see the Winter Olympics return to the region.
Perhaps nobody is more excited about the prospect than Jon Killoran, CEO of the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition, an organization created with the purpose of helping pave the way for a Winter Olympics bid.
Most recently, the Coalition had its eyes set on a potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. However, with the by the United States Olympic Committee’s decision to pursue a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, any plans for the Winter Olympics have been put on the back burner until a decision is made on the Summer Games.
“We think the Olympic Games, winter or summer, is a great thing for our country,” says Killoran.
In the interest of allowing the USOC to put its full concentration toward one bid process at a time, Killoran and the Coalition have turned their immediate attention toward other, shorter-term goals.
The Coalition is instead actively pursuing “other competitions with beneficial economic impact for the area, as well as raising the amount of elite level athletics happening in the area,” says Killoran. In fact, it recently secured the 2018 National Junior Olympic Cross-Country championships for Reno, an elite-level competition that brings in about 3,000 competitors annually.
Additionally, this winter Squaw Valley will host a stop on the Audi FIS World Cup ski tour, which Killoran says will only bring more attention to the world-class facilities available in the region.
Most recently the Coalition helped put on an international elite-level curling competition in Las Vegas, an event that saw a record number of people in attendance. You heard right. Curling. In the desert. And it was wildly successful. It’s exactly this type of enthusiasm and outside-the-box thinking that may be necessary to help bring any future Olympic Games back to the Reno Tahoe area.
For more information, visit renotahoewintergames.org.