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Anchorage exploring 2026 Olympics bid

Jun 26, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT

Anchorage, Alaska AP

A 23-member exploratory committee met in Anchorage, Alaska Tuesday to discuss the logistics of hosting the 2026 Winter Games and debate whether the city would be willing and able to put in a bid with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

“We still feel, in fact more confidently than ever, that Anchorage has the capability, the facilities and, most of all, the spirit and the willingness to be the host city,” Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said.

“When you host these kinds of national events, it really just increases our resume, our capacity to put in this bid for the 2026 Olympics.”

But the biggest question on the table was, as always, how do you pay for the venues and other city improvements, and what do you do with them when the Games are over? Alaska has been struggling through the same economic issues as most other cities, and Olympic officials would need to build a new just-about-everything to accommodate the thousands of international spectators flooding to the city.

Sullivan suggests that the costs could ideally be covered by TV revenues, merchandising, and private contributions from corporations, and that spearheading a bid this early could help to alleviate the pressure.

Beyond those all important questions, Sullivan believes his city is otherwise well-equipped, with enough lodging and accommodations already, and the perfect location for prime-time TV audiences worldwide. Now he intends to spend the next eight months detailing everything from finances to venues and transportation so they have a clear plan to present to the USOC when initial bidding starts in 2015.

“I think we’re back on the right track,” he explained. “And you’re talking about Games in 2026, so it’s 13 years from now. You’d like to think we’ll be even better positioned than we are today.”

Anchorage has actually been a finalist to host the Olympics twice, finishing sixth in voting for the 1992 Games that went to Albertville, France, and third for the 1994 Games that ended up in Lillehammer, Norway.

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