Gehrke: Denver shouldn’t be sad about missing out on the Olympics. Here’s why.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City officials celebrate after getting the news that U.S. Olympics Committee chose their city over Denver to bid for a future Winter Olympics, possibly 2030, as they gather at City Hall on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, to announce the decision. Raising their arms in celebration are council chairwoman Erin Mendenhall, former Salt Lake Organizing Committee chief operating officer Fraser Bullock, Utah Sports Commission CEO Jeff Robbins, Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Gov. Gary Herbert, speed skater Catherine Raney Norman and councilman Jim Bradley, from left.

Let’s face it: The holidays can be rough.

The cold, dreary days; all the added pressure from juggling gift purchases and holiday gatherings; the unrealistic pursuit of the perfect Christmas.

Add to that losing a bid to host the Winter Olympics and you get why Denver might be looking a little glum.

As you’ve surely heard, the U.S. Olympic Committee picked Salt Lake City to compete to host a future Winter Games, most likely 2030. And we didn’t even have to pay out a bunch of bribes this time — at least not yet.

But buck up, Denver. You’ve still got a lot to be happy about.

While they won’t be hosting any Olympic events for the next several decades, your ski resorts are fine, provided you don’t mind driving four hours round trip to get to a lift and paying a small fortune once you finally get there.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune The Salt Lake Tribune staff portraits. Robert Gehrke.

Facilities aside, you could see why the Olympic committee was a little gun shy, frankly. Back in 1976, Denver won the right to host the Olympics and then voters killed the idea in a referendum.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has a long memory when it comes to things that aren’t rampant sex abuse in women’s gymnastics or ethical missteps by key officials or, apparently, that whole Salt Lake City bribery thing.

In Denver, there were already echoes of the past, as citizens groups organized to limit spending on the 2030 Games. And you can’t really blame taxpayers if they choke on the price tag. Denver organizers scaled back their projected cost to $1.9 billion — compared with $1.3 billion in Salt Lake City — but to pare it down that far, they proposed the goofy idea of staging events in Utah and possibly even in Lake Placid, N.Y. They could hold the opening ceremonies via Skype.

They got dumped by the U.S. Olympic Committee. But it turns out Denver is used to not getting any love. Last year the city ranked as the absolute worst in America for dating, thanks to bros who apparently don’t put forth much effort.

Speaking of not putting forth much effort, what happened to the Denver Broncos this year? They lost back-to-back games against the awful San Francisco 49ers and the surprisingly not-as-awful-as-usual Cleveland Browns. But I’m not helping, am I?

Oh, here’s something: In November, the Wall Street Journal said Denver has the best major airport in the United States. No, seriously.

It is a nice, shiny airport. Sure, it cost about a trillion dollars more than it was supposed to and had nagging structural problems. And it is rumored to have underground bunkers to shelter the global elite and is supposedly some sort of an occult temple.

My biggest problem is they built it halfway between Denver and Kansas. But that long drive to downtown has got to be great for the city’s Uber drivers, and there really is no better way to take in the majesty of lovely Aurora, Colo.

Colorado’s politicians are, for the most part, reasonably sane. So when Utah’s grandstanding politicos decided it was more important to make political statements than keep the $100 million-a-year Outdoor Retailer shows in town, you guys saw the opportunity and scooped it up.

It’s not just a nice feather in your Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero ($60, makes a great Christmas gift); the access to all that easy wicking Gore-tex means unpleasant dampness will forever be a thing of the past.

If none of that makes you feel better, Denver, you’ve got full-strength beer and legal marijuana. In Salt Lake City, we’ve got essential oils and the only “green” you can get is in the Jell-O.

Oh, and there’s this: Earlier this year, U.S. News named Denver the third-best place to live in the United States. That’s a bronze medal, and not too shabby; Salt Lake finished way back in 15th. So feel free to look down on us Salt Lakers, if for no other reason than you are 1,400 feet higher than we are — and not just because of the weed (although that’s part of it).

You’ve got a lot going for you, Denver. And if you’re ever feeling down, Salt Lake City is here for you. That’s what neighbors do. Feel free to visit any time. Just keep in mind we might be busy in early 2030, hosting the Winter Olympics … again.

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