This is a guest post by Jeff Olson, an Olympian and President of Well Nourished Worldwide. Watch his TEDxMileHigh 2011 talk “An Olympic Why“. Citius, Fortius, Altius. Faster, Stronger, Higher. The Olympic Motto can easily stand today as the motto of globalization. To win the future, we must out educate (higher), out innovate (faster) and out build (stronger) our competitors. Doing so offers low risk, high return and an ROI worth spreading. Mayor Michael Hancock says, “I hear people say we’re ready to turn challenges into opportunities for a brighter future.” Former Mayor, now Governor, John Hickenlooper used to frame his comments by saying, “This is what great cities do!” Jim Collins’ new book “Great by Choice” makes the case that greatness is a choice. Do the Olympics offer MileHigh a chance to choose greatness? Is there an enduring ROI from the endeavor? Why bother? The Olympic risk/reward profile has changed dramatically (since 1984), for American cities, due to privately funded American bids with corporate and media sponsorships. Translated that equals lower risk, higher return for a city. Is an Olympic pursuit worth the effort? It depends. Denver 2022 exploratory committee’s work (Q1-2012) will evaluate the risk and reward of bidding, winning and hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. To get out of the starting gate, MileHigh must distinguish the endeavor as a low risk, high reward. To understand Salt Lake City’s 2002 Olympic reward/legacy click here. Winning (any) future makes one massive assumption…we have the will to do so. The invisible force of internal drive activated is mysterious. When you see its healthy expression, you witness deep passion and a joy found in effort. A former world champion was recently quoted on America’s new dominance in ski racing (vs. Austrian dominance), “Austrians now envy the less-rigid U.S. approach. We see them as super-cool because they look like they’re having so much fun… With the Americans, it comes from the heart.” The five Olympic questions for Denver to ask are: How? What? When? Who? Why? The answer to “Why” precipitates everything else. However, it is often the last question asked and it should be the first. Why Denver 2022? Jacque Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee [IOC] in paraphrasing the Olympic Charter says, “The Olympic Movement has the moral duty to place sport at the service of humanity.”  It is the highest calling, which unfortunately, has seen a great deal of cause-washing over the years. However, there is one Olympic city that embodied the challenge and shines above the rest. Why Lillehammer 1994? Answer: The “Environment”. The environment became an official Olympic pillar, by design, because of Lillehammer and Norway’s vision, mission and execution of the 1994 Winter Olympic “Environmental” Games. Henceforth, every city that bids on the Olympic Games must submit an entire environmental plan.  Lillehammer’s innovation put the environment into the Olympic Movement. Upon launching the new Colorado Innovation Network, Governor Hickenlooper said, “We’ve got the Colorado Advantage… we are almost perfectly poised to be a center where we accelerate new ideas and translate them into prosperity.” How does America compete against the New Frontier Era of Olympic proliferation (i.e. Sochi, Rio, Pyeonchang – Doha, Istanbul, Baku)? Enter the MileHigh vision to elevate (Denver Olympics) for healthier generations. Currently, “Health” is not an official pillar of the Olympic Movement. It seems both obvious and counterintuitive that it is not.  Global health needs the vigor of an Olympic partnership. Melinda Gates says, “We must engage the levers of culture to transform public health.” The Olympic Movement is a global, cultural lever.  Sixty percent of all the global death, every year, is due to lifestyle related disease.  Eighty percent of those deaths occur in ethnic, low and middle income urban communities (see global impact here). Beijing, London, Moscow, Cape Town, Rio, Calcutta, Seoul, Sydney, Dubai, Chicago, Denver, etc., all suffer this modern urban burden. Global health institutions like the W.H.O., U.N., UNICEF, Gates Foundation, Clinton Global Alliance, World Bank, etc…need the advocacy and partnership of the Olympic family. They will become Denver’s greatest cheerleaders. The new frontier for the Olympic Movement is to become a global torchbearer for active, healthy lifestyles. The timing is right. In September 2011, President Rogge made the IOC’s first formal commitment to the United Nations to work together to combat lifestyle related (chronic) diseases. See President Rogge addressing the U.N. here. MileHigh can carry this torch to higher ground. We can win our economic future with healthier generations. The Milken Institute report on the loss of economic prosperity (foregone GDP), due to lifestyle related diseases, is staggering. The tragic economics of it all, connect us all. Innovating Colorado’s health is an economic advantage that is low risk, high return. What if we became the first state in the U.S. to reverse the upward trends of childhood obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.? That’s a game changer. It is the equivalent of breaking the four-minute mile in public health. Denver 2022 represents a Sputnik moment for us to out educate, out innovate and out build healthier generations. To win the future, I cannot say it any better than President Jack Kennedy did in a 1960 article he wrote for Sports Illustrated entitled the “Soft American”. Mayor Hancock says, ” Now is the time for all of us to come together and turn our dreams and aspirations into reality. It is time for Denver to take its rightful place as one of the premier cities in the United States and around the globe.” America has lost its last two Olympic bids (2012, 2016). American speed skater, Dan Jansen, was the gold medal favorite in back to back Olympics. He fell in both. He came back for a third Olympics and won Gold because that is what champions do…they persevere. Winning 21st century economic prosperity and hosting the world in 2022 requires a united approach and a collective will. Do you believe in miracles?  America’s 1980 Miracle on Ice was not a miracle.  It was a shining example of what a united team can do when they believe and come from the heart. Game on…