Denver 76' : the Winter Olympics and the politics of growth / Adam Berg

Berg, Adam

Edited by Penn State University - 2016

On May 12, 1970, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Denver, Colorado, the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. About two and half years later, on November 7, 1972, Colorado citizens voted to make it a violation of Colorado's constitution for state funds to be allocated toward the event. As a result, Denver's Olympic planners were forced to rescind their offer to host the Games. This project reveals that Colorado's decision to banish the Olympics was the product of a transformation in how Coloradans viewed economic growth, combined with broadened understandings of the political power of citizenship. A pro-growth and pro-development mindset motivated Denver's political and business leaders to initiate their bid and facilitated their confidence that a large majority of Colorado's populace supported the endeavor. By the beginning of the 1970s, however, the idea that growth and development were unequivocal social goods had been quieted by a diverse set of issues connected to expectations regarding individual rights. Within Colorado, anxiety over the infringement of open spaces near people's homes, objections to undue spending of taxpayer dollars, and anger that citizens had been shut out of decision-making procedures inspired various citizens to challenge the wisdom and morality of hosting the Olympics.

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