Another Utah Olympic bid? Not a matter of “if” but “when”

Sep 7, 2021, 4:57 PM
utah olympic bid speedskater derek parra...
FILE: Derek Parra sets a new world record in the Mens 5000m speed skating event with a time of 6:17.98 at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns Saturday, February 9, 2002. Photo by Jason Olson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A bid for Utah hosting another Winter Olympic Games isn’t a matter of “if.” It’s a matter of when. That’s because the state has already been selected by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee as a host for a “future winter Games” in the United States, whenever they come back.

The group that is trying to make this happen, again, is focusing on the years 2030 or 2034. The first option, 2030, is preferred by the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Committee for the Games, Fraser Bullock, because he, admittedly, is among those who are “aging quickly.”

But there’s a potential problem with 2030, he told the Dave & Dujanovic show on KSL NewsRadio this week.

The problem is Los Angeles, which has already been awarded the 2028 summer games.

“We have to carefully navigate the issues that arise from back-to-back games,” Bullock said.

So the Salt Lake City Committee is working with the US OPC to determine which games to pursue.

Lots of things in Utah’s favor

In preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Utah built from the ground up. Specifically, the Olympic committee built the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah Olympic Park in Summit County, the Ice Sheet in Ogden, and Soldier Hollow at Wasatch Mountain State Park.

And when the flame went out and the 2002 games wrapped up, the venues stayed open. Utah has hosted World Cups and competitions and offered training venues for athletes from across the world ever since.

Other things in Utah’s favor right now? Bullock mentioned Utah’s new and larger airport and expansion at the University of Utah.

“Wherever you look, we’re actually in better shape. And our venues are really ready to go,” Bullock said.

Utah’s new governor, Spencer Cox, is also ready to go. As reported by the Deseret News, Cox has brought new members into Utah’s Olympic Committee, many of them local Olympic athletes. 

What still has to happen for a Utah Olympic bid?

But it’s not a given – not yet. There are new winter sports that have come on the Olympic scene since 2002 (like slopestyle). Where those would be presented must be determined. And there’s the matter of the 1,000-plus page document that is the official bid that must still be put together.

Finally, Utahns need to support hosting another Winter Games. But that doesn’t seem like a hindrance to Bullock.

“Well, that really is our secret weapon,” Bullock said. “We have unanimous support from our political leaders. The business community is behind it. And when we’ve done public polls in the past, it’s been always in the 80s. One of them was 89% public support.

“Utahns love the games.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Another Utah Olympic bid? Not a matter of “if” but “when”