Today, the United States Olympic Committee named Salt Lake City as the candidate city for a future Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid. The selection, announced at the USOC Board meeting, means Salt Lake City will be the United States contender in a future international bid process. The USOC has not indicated for which future Winter Games they would put forth a bid, though the next open bid will be for the 2030 Games, with a selection to be made by the International Olympic Committee no later than 2023. Salt Lake City was selected over Denver which was the only other US city competing for the right to bid after Reno-Tahoe ended their process earlier this year.
The announcement was met with enthusiasm by local and state leaders, along with Utah’s athlete community who have been working together to secure another Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Salt Lake.
“On behalf of the State of Utah and our citizens, we appreciate the United States Olympic Committee’s confidence in our ability to host a future Olympic Winter Games,” said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. “Utah continues to utilize our existing, world class sports venues to host a significant number of major international sporting events and I can’t think of a better place to host the Games.”
Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski, who has been serving as the Co-Chair of the Salt Lake Olympic Executive Committee and received the call from USOC officials announcing their selection late this afternoon, described the moment as ‘humbling’ and ‘affirming’.
“We are truly humbled to be the choice to represent the United States in a bid for a future Olympic Games,” said Biskupski. “This decision affirms Salt Lake City as the capital of winter sports in America, and the tremendous amount of work we have done to continue our Olympic legacy for future generations.”
The USOC’s decision comes after more than a year of work by leaders from Utah’s political, business, and athlete community. In October 2017, leaders announced the formation of the Salt Lake Olympic Exploratory Committee (OEC), tasked with preparing a report for Governor Herbert and the Utah State Legislature on the feasibility of hosting another Winter Games. The report, released in February of this year, indicated it would cost approximately $1.4 billion to host another Winter Games in Salt Lake, an amount which could be funded without tax-payer dollars. The report also highlighted strong public support, with 89% of Utahns in favor of hosting a future Winter Games. Following the release of the report, the OEC unanimously endorsed a recommendation to pursue a future Games.
“We are honored and excited to be selected by the United States Olympic Committee as their next candidate city for a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter bid,” says Jeff Robbins, President and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “We know our work begins today and we look forward to partnering with the USOC to bring an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games back to Utah.”
In November, USOC officials were in Utah to tour facilities and meet with local leaders and Olympic athletes. During the site-visit, members of the USOC toured the Utah Olympic Oval which recently underwent an $8-million expansion, Utah Olympic Park where 175 elite athletes from 14 countries are currently training, and facilities at the University of Utah, including Rice-Eccles Stadium where a recently announced expansion will increase capacity and amenities.
“We are thrilled about the possibility of hosting another Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Our Olympic legacy venues are alive and vibrant with winter sport programing year-round and the spirit of the Olympics has never left our hearts,” said Derek Parra, 2002 Gold and Silver Medalist, Sport Director at the Utah Olympic Oval, and Athlete Representative of the Salt Lake Olympic Exploratory Committee. “The 2002 Games had such a positive effect on our state, the nation and the world, and I hope that we can share another experience of inspiration, hope, peace and humanity with the next generation.”