By Duncan Mackay
October 17 - Reno-Tahoe has set its sights on hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics after the United States decided not to put forward a candidate for the 2018 Games following Chicago's humiliating failure to land 2016.
Brian Krolicki, the chairman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, admitted that they were aware that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) may not sanction a bid.
Applications officially closed last night and the International Olympic Committee announced that Annecy in France, Munich in Germany and Pyeongchang in South Korea were the only cities who had submitted bids.
Krolicki said: "Our coalition has known for a long time that this journey would be difficult and perhaps we would not have the chance to bid on the 2018 Games.
"We were just hoping that possibly, they [the USOC] would change their minds."
The USOC are currently reassessing when to launch another Olympic bid after Chicago went out in the first round of the vote for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.
Jon Killoran, the chief executive of the Reno-Tahoe coalition, said: "What is encouraging about this hunt is that we did not get beaten out by someone else.
"It gives us a chance to work on our proposals so when we are ready to move forward, it will be full speed on the gas pedal.”
The USOC are expected to make a decision in 2012 whether or not to support a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The first step to carve out a strategy to land the 2022 Games will happen almost immediately, Killoran said.
The coalition plans to form the Lake Tahoe Regional Sports Commission, which would help bring national and regional pre-Olympic events to the area.
Staging these events will enhance the area for the future Olympic bid and boost tourism by attracting a large number of athletes and their families to the area, Krolicki predicted.
The coalition estimates to bring the Games to Northern Nevada will cost about $1.5 billion (£917 million).
The decision of the USOC not to put forward a bid, along with the refusal of the Chinese Government to support Harbin, who wanted to put forward a bid, means that the race for 2018 will have the lowest number of competitors for a Winter Olympics since 1981, when three finalists competed for the 1988 Games, which went to Calgary.
There were seven bids for 1992, four for 1994, six for 1998, nine for 2002, which was cut to four finalists, six for 2006, eight for 2010, reduced to pared to four finalists, and seven for 2014, with three finalists.
A spokesman for the IOC said: "What matters to us is the quality of the projects and we are confident that the three cities will propose solid candidatures.
"During these challenging times it is reassuring to see that only cities that are confident with the high calibre of their bids are entering the competition."
Pyeongchang, located in the mountains 110 miles east of Seoul, is bidding for the third straight time after narrowly losing out for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and is considered the favourite.
Dick Pound, an influential member of the IOC, has claimed that several cities have decided not to bid because Pyeongchang is such a front-runner.
He said: "There would be some view out there that Pyeongchang may get a relatively free ride."
The finalists will have to submit their detailed files by January 11, 2011.
An IOC Evaluation Commission will visit each city to assess the bids and prepare a written report to be issued a month before the vote in Durban on July 6, 2011.
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