Denver’s in the running for an Olympics. Should it be 2026 or 2030?

2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony team USA (U.S. Army/Flickr)

By Eddie Pells, AP National Writer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The prospect of a U.S. bid for the Winter Olympics is less a matter of “if” and more a matter of “when.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee board is moving forward with discussions about bringing the Winter Games to America for either 2026 or 2030.

Because Los Angeles was recently awarded the 2028 Summer Games, a bid for 2030 would make more sense, chairman Larry Probst said Friday after the USOC board’s quarterly meeting.

But the USOC needs more information about the International Olympic Committee’s process for awarding the next Olympics. The 2026 Games are set to be awarded in 2019, but the IOC could decide to award the 2030 Games at that time, as well, mirroring this year’s dual award of the 2024 Games to Paris and 2028 to LA.

If the IOC considers that possibility, Probst said “we’d want to be in that conversation, at the table for that discussion,” which would mean 2026 would be in the mix.

The USOC has until next March to pick a city. Those expressing interest are Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno, Nevada.

Asked what the perfect candidate city would offer, Blackmun said it would be one that “aligns best with Agenda 2020,” the IOC blueprint for future Olympics that calls for less billion-dollar projects and more venues already in place.

Salt Lake City is the last American city to host an Olympics — the 2002 Winter Games — and many of the venues built for those Olympics have been maintained and are still in use.

Probst said he has taken recent comments from IOC president Thomas Bach about returning the Winter Games to “more traditional” sites as code for bringing them back to Europe or North America.

Next year’s Pyeongchang Olympics will mark the first of two in a row in Asia.