SALT LAKE CITY

IOC picks Salt Lake as ‘preferred host’ for 2034 Winter Olympics

Nov 29, 2023, 6:16 AM | Updated: 3:55 pm

Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, and Salt Lake...

Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall cheer as Salt Lake City is named as the preferred host for 2034 Olympics during a “watch party” at the Salt Lake City and County Building in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It was considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

On Wednesday, the odds for a twice-in-a-lifetime Olympic Winter Games experience (at least for some) greatly increased. The International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission recommended Salt Lake City as a preferred host for the 2034 games.

“The Executive Board today followed the recommendation of the Future Host Commission to invite the French Alps and Salt Lake City, Utah, into respective targeted dialogues to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, 2030 and 2034,” said Karl Stoss, the Future Host Commission chair.

“The IOC will now start more detailed discussions with the preferred hosts … with the aim to award the two additions at the 142nd IOC session in July in Paris.”

Strong support, venues, gave a second Salt Lake City Olympics the edge

According to Stoss, the strong support from the Salt Lake City public and various levels of Utah government were important factors in their decision. Utah’s already-built Olympic venues were another major contributing factor.

“That was the vision. To build on the legacies of 2002,” he said. “Very compact master plan, no capital investment required, experience in hosting major international events in most Winter Olympic sports, exceptional public support, and the highest level of national, state, and city government support,” Stoss said. 

Television screens were set up outside of Salt Lake’s City and County Building to stream the event. Representatives of Utah’s state and city government appeared too. They echoed the IOC’s belief that Utah is strongly behind a second chance to host the Winter Olympic Games. 


 

Following the IOC announcement, athletes who participated in the 2002 Winter Games spoke. Their excitement matched that of Utah’s leaders. 

Next steps toward second Salt Lake Olympics

More detailed discussions will now begin with Utah’s Olympic organizers. “So they have now to do their homework,” Stoss said. There are six more months to come to a final decision. 

Stoss said the Future Host Commission will set a timeline for “targeted dialogues,” and will report to the executive board about the outcomes of these discussions before the next IOC meeting in July, in Paris, France.

Between now and July is a February deadline for the future host submission, Stoss said, another deadline for guarantees that must be met by the future host city, and a visit to the potential future host city.

Salt Lake City is ready for Olympic games!

Utah officials say they are ready for it.

“Guess what? We’re ready,” said Fraser Bullock, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee’s president and CEO. “We can push the send button tomorrow,” Bullock said moments after the announcement was made on Wednesday. 

“This doesn’t happen, without 2002,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Wednesday, referring to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. And he had praise for Utah citizens, too.

“It was the overwhelming support of Utahns that made this happen,” Cox said. “That’s what’s so unique, to have over 80% of the state very supported, excited. We can’t get 80% of the people to agree on whether the sky is blue.”

A message for young athletes

After the announcement, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall challenged anybody under age 25, though she hesitated to “put a date” on Olympians.

“I’m too old to do this,” she said, “but if you’re under 25 right now … you should be thinking about engaging in the capital that’s already built. The incredible training venues that we have over 30 nations training in right now, and the 110 languages that are spoken in Salt Lake City School District alone.

“We are welcoming the world again today, and you should come too,” said Mendenhall. 

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IOC picks Salt Lake as ‘preferred host’ for 2034 Winter Olympics