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Division already forming over possible Denver Olympics bid

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DENVER -- The city of Denver would have some distinct advantages if it pursues an a bid for the Winter Olympics in 2026 or 2030.

On Monday, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced Denver, along with Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City were cities it was looking at for a possible bid.

"We think we are well-suited to be a host city," said Matthew Payne, director of the Denver Sports Commission.

The commission is the group currently involved in any possible bid.

Payne said no specific bid information is available, but said an internal committee within the Denver Sports Commission has been meeting regarding the prospect.

"We think we are an international city. I think everything we have done from the airport to our hotel package says we are that kind of city," Payne said.

Some of Denver's advantages would be obvious.

The city already has the hotel infrastructure as well as multiple sports venues that could be used. Ski resorts within two hours of Denver are world renowned.

For instance, Sports Authority Field at Mile High could host an opening ceremony and the Pepsi Center could host ice skating events.

The U.S. Olympic Committee is also headquartered in Colorado Springs -- which might give Colorado an advantage.

However, Colorado also has several disadvantages.

For one, mountain travel is extremely difficult in the winter with Interstate 70 in need of several widening projects.

Denver also has some negative past history with the Olympics. It's the only city in the U.S. to have been given the Olympics and then rejected it, in 1976.

But the biggest issue might be political. The cost of hosting an Olympics has been well-documented. Sochi cost Russia $51 billion in 2014.

Already some conservatives have expressed concern over taxpayer dollars being used to pay for an Olympics bid.

"If you can find a way of doing it without taxpayer dollars, it's a possibility. But if it's using taxpayer dollars, I have no interest," said State Rep. Patrick Neville, the Republican leader in the State House.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is signaling early support for a bid proposal.

The USOC will finalize in the next couple months for which city it will select for the U.S. bid. The International Olympic Committee will then ultimately decide which bidder wins the games.