History of the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition
The Reno-Tahoe region has been involved in a number of bid efforts including the 1955 bid developed by Alex Cushing of Squaw Valley USA, a bid that resulted in Squaw Valley hosting the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. The award was considered a major upset defeating Innsbruck, Austria in one of the closest votes in IOC history. For the first time since 1932, an Olympic Winter Games was to be staged in the United States. The Reno-Tahoe Olympic legacy had begun.
A half century later, the legacy of those Squaw Valley Games still burns brightly throughout our region and the international Olympic community. Numerous celebrations took place throughout this 2010 winter season to commemorate one of the most intimate and successful Winter Games in history.
Ensuing Reno-Tahoe Olympic Winter Games bid efforts began in the 1980′s with the development of the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Organizing Committee, Inc. Incorporated as a Nevada non-profit corporation by Bruce Bogaert, a Nevada assemblyman, and Brad Littlefield, a South Lake Tahoe casino executive, the RTWGOC spearheaded the efforts to build a regional interest in returning the Olympics to the Sierras. During the same period of time, Bogaert wrote the enabling legislation to establish the Nevada Commission on Sports, incorporating the mandates of a governor’s council on physical fitness and sports and a statewide sport tourism commission. The Nevada Commission on Sports was officially established as a state commission in the legislative session of 1989.
Going up against the formidable and omnipresent efforts of Salt Lake City, and the upstart efforts of Anchorage, Reno was defeated for the U.S. Candidate City designation in both 1987 and 1989 with Anchorage getting the nod. Reno-Tahoe stayed in the Olympic Winter bid competition in the early 1990’s. That effort was led by Dick Reynolds, a Vice President and Investment Officer at Wachovia Securities. Enlisting a veritable who’s who of Reno businesspeople and government officials, Reynolds had built a team capable of taking Reno-Tahoe to the Bid City level. Unfortunately, the efforts to win the U.S. Candidate City designation fell short when the USOC chose Salt Lake City over both Anchorage and Reno for both 1998 and 2002.
In 1999, Jim Vanden Heuvel, Al Kramer and David Youngberg met with Nevada’s newly elected governor Kenny Guinn in an effort to reactivate the Nevada Commission on Sports. Guinn made new appointments to the NCOS in 2000 and discussions ensued concerning a new bid effort supported by the NCOS. In 2001, the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition was established as a separate non-profit corporation spearheading the bid efforts independent of – but with the full support of – the NCOS.
The Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition is the current organization responsible for developing the bid strategy and the support team capable of effectively competing for a future Winter Olympic Games award. Nevada Lieutenant Governor Brian K. Krolicki is the chairman of a board consisting of public and private sector community leaders representing both California and Nevada. After Vanden Heuvel’s untimely passing in March of 2008, Jon Killoran was appointed the new Chief executive Officer of the coalition. He handles day-to-day operations and is a thirty year Reno resident, spending most of that time as a broadcast television executive.