JEFF CAPLAN'S MINUTE OF NEWS

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The unspoken reason why the IOC is touring Utah

Apr 12, 2024, 9:00 PM

ioc delegation at park city mountain during the salt lake ioc visit...

Danka Bartekova, International Olympic Committee member, and Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director, look at the view from the luge deck as members of the International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission, IOC and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic leaders visit the Utah Olympic Park in consideration for the 2034 Games in Park City on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — As the Olympic Committee hopscotches around Northern Utah viewing the various Olympic venues, our one ace in our pocket is the condition of the facilities from 2002.

These nine IOC members could have stayed home and watched videos of the venues. But they needed a closer look for a reason that might be summed up best in one word.  

Sarajevo. 

A beautiful city in a now nonexistent nation. But in 1984, Sarajevo hosted the Winter Games where an East German figure skater named Katarina Vitt stole the show. Here in America, we were used to thick-muscled communist women shot up with steroids — but this was different.  

Katarina Vitt was pretty. The paradox short-circuited the brains of a lot of young men. She’s cute — but she’s communist.

After the games ended, war came to Bosnia in the 90s, and Sarajevo was ground zero. The Olympic bobsled track became an artillery position. The Olympic Village was turned into a prison. Outside the bombed-out arena where Katarina Vitt skated for the world, the parking lot is now a cemetery for the war dead of Sarajevo.

So these IOC members are in Northern Utah, and they’re keenly aware of what happened to other such cities after their moment in the sun. But here the figure skating arena is about to host a new NHL team. The stadium where Earth Wind and Fire played the closing ceremonies is freshly expanded.

Most importantly — and as Fraser Bullock told us, the IOC visit went well. He said you could see the happiness in the visitors’ faces.  

Jeff Caplan is the host of Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Facebook and X. 

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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The unspoken reason why the IOC is touring Utah