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Olympic outlook: muddy, hopeful 

Talk to one pessimistic source, and you come away thinking the U.S. Olympic Committee surely will move its headquarters even perhaps its training center out of Colorado Springs.

Talk to another insider, and you hear that the USOC will probably stay, relocating its Olympic House offices most likely to the downtown area and opening up room for additional training facilities at the current complex.

One other source confidently says the Colorado Springs city government, with the plans and options it has already submitted, has done enough to stop the USOC from selling itself to the highest bidder.

Along the way, somebody who should be "in the know" says Denver officials actually, as politely as possible, said no to a seductive USOC proposition. Apparently the USOC inquired about moving its entire plant to the former Fitzsimmons Air Force Base property in Aurora, but it already has been committed to biotech and related companies with higher-paying jobs. Also, we're told, Denver wasn't interested in battling the Springs.

That sounds nice, but then someone else with inside connections says that, instead, one group of Denver leaders had been busily amassing a war chest to offer the USOC before the story went public a few weeks ago.

Who's right? Who's wrong? Who's exaggerating? Who's not? There's no way to know for sure until the USOC makes its plans known, which probably will happen in a matter of days, not weeks. One person close to the pulse says the Olympic Committee's announcement is "pretty imminent."

One other point has been consistent through recent conversations, regardless of the source: Regardless of how serious the USOC leadership might be in reaching out to other cities, we're being told that most potentially affected athletes don't want to leave. They also don't want to speak out, because that would be politically incorrect.

The view from here is that the USOC soon will announce its decision to stay in Colorado Springs. At the same time, the Olympic folks will let us know their choice of the city's proposed locations (provided by developers) for Olympic House, with the actual move to take place as soon as possible.

This doesn't mean the Springs put more on the table than other cities. Let's remember that the USOC, from the start, gave Colorado Springs a chance to make its best pitch. Other cities were contacted just in case, but not so much to put extra pressure on the Springs.

But for those who feared our city government would blow that opportunity, don't lose sleep. From every indication, though specific details are sketchy for now, the city has tried its hardest.

With good reason, of course. The Olympic presence isn't simply an enviable asset for Colorado Springs; over the past three decades, the USOC truly has become one of the city's pillars. It's not just another business or industry with hundreds of jobs. It's one of the best selling points for the Springs in convincing other companies to move here, right up there with Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and the Air Force Academy.

Losing the USOC, especially if the training center also went away, would significantly tarnish the city more than, say, the impending loss of Intel or the de-centralizing of NORAD.

Here's another thought, which hasn't come out so far: Nothing would be wrong with the USOC agreeing to a new, stunning headquarters in Colorado Springs that would add to the appeal for tourists and residents alike. Beyond that, though, the USOC could ask a major city New York, Chicago, whatever to work with developers and provide a swanky, but not oversized, metropolitan office for dealing with the biggest sponsors, governmental affairs and perhaps national media.

That would be the best of both worlds. And it would be even better, at some appropriate time, to hear of one more local push for a permanent U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

For now, though, let's not lose focus or listen too much to all those sources. This isn't about whispers, rumors or leaks.

Three decades ago, a different generation of U.S. Olympic leaders decided to call Colorado Springs home when no other cities were interested.

The goal of this process has been to convince a new USOC generation that the Olympic movement, and its highest ideals, truly do belong here.

As long as it's about that, and not just about money, Colorado Springs should prevail.

routon@csindy.com

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