Only a handful of cities around the world truly have the infrastructure and money to host the Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee still takes the bids of every candidate seriously. Here are some cities that tried to get the Olympics…but didn’t quite land them.
Denver was a logical choice for the 1976 Winter Olympics: It’s surrounded by mountains and ski resorts. But when the city started spending millions of taxpayer money for sports facilities that wouldn’t be used much after 1976, an emergency funding bond measure was put to voters. The voters rejected it, and so the Olympics no longer had funding. Denver pulled out, and the Winter Olympics were quickly offered to Whistler, British Columbia, who turned down the chance. Innsbruck, Austria, was eventually given the games.
Detroit has bid on the Olympics a record seven times without winning. In bidding on the 1944 games in the late 1930s, Detroit came in second to London, which won them despite being a major bomb zone in the middle of World War II. (The games were eventually cancelled altogether.) Detroit reportedly almost secured the 1960 Olympics… until the IOC gave them to Rome to make up for the Italian city having to withdraw its bid in 1908 after Mount Vesuvius erupted.
Andorra La Vella
Andorra is a tiny principality on the border of Spain and France, jointly governed by France and a Spanish wing of the Catholic Church. Its capital city, Andorra la Vella, covers 10 square miles and has a population of 22,000 people. It’s the smallest city to ever bid on the Winter Olympics. How small is it? Atlanta, with a population of 400,000, was considered too small when that city bid on the 1996 Summer Olympics. Area-wise, Manhattan is three times the size of Andorra la Vella, and New York City was unsuccessful in its bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ultimately, Andorra La Vella did not win its bid to host the 2010 winter games.