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1970s / Denver Declines 1976 Winter Olympics
Remember Denver hosting the 1976 Winter Olympics? No? That's because the Colorado capital was supposed to host the Games but didn't. In May 1970, the International Olympic Committee chose Denver to host '76 Winter Games ahead of bids from locales in Switzerland, Finland, and Canada. The USOC was ecstatic, but the taxpayers of Colorado were far less enthusiastic when they learned they would be footing much of the Games' costs. Within a very short time, an anti-Games movement grew in the state. During the 1972 election campaign, a plebiscite asked Coloradoans what they thought about a $5-million bond issue to finance the Games. On the same night Richard Nixon was re-elected, Colorado voters rejected the bond issue by a substantial 60/40 ratio. (In retrospect, that $5 million would have only covered a small fraction of the Games' actual costs.) A week after the voters spoke, Denver officially withdrew as the host city for 1976 Winter Olympics. The Games were hastily given to Innsbruck, Austria--where the 1964 Games had been held--because the facilities were already in place.