In 3 years time the IOC will convene in Kuala Lumpur to decide the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and several cities in the American West are looking to be contenders. Experienced hosts Salt Lake City (2002) and Lake Tahoe (1960) will be joined by Denver to win the honors of hosting what could be the first Olympic games in the US in 20 years.
The likelihood of a US candidate city winning the bid is extremely high because of two things. The most obvious reason is the drought: "If the IOC is smart, it must realize that from time to time, there should be Games in the United States," says Canadian IOC member Dick Pound, former chairman of the IOC's marketing commission. "It's still the most important country for the Olympics." But the US has something else working in its favor too: topography. Unlike their summer cousins, the winter games require mountains and altitude changes, and this limits the number of cities that can realistically consider an Olympic bid. Given the importance of the US to the IOC, the terrain of the Rockies, and the financial backing of the largest economy in the world, any US candidate city should be a shoo-in.
But it won't be.
The USOC and the IOC have been locked in a revenue sharing dispute for the past few years. According to USA Today, the USOC receives 20% of global sponsor money and 12.75% of U.S. broadcast fees. Several members of the IOC have strong objections to this contract--which is good until 2020--and cited the deal as the reason for Chicago's failed bid for the 2016 Olympics. There has been little progress on this issue, and there is no timetable for when this must be resolved. "If we are far enough along (in resolving the revenue-sharing issue), we will begin thinking about it", said USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun. But in the event that no progress is made, any bid may just have to go the route of Las Vegas 2020.
The USOC will choose its candidate for the 2022 Games at the end of this year.