The United States Olympic Committee on Friday selected Salt Lake City to bid on a future Winter Games, likely the event in 2030, putting the capital city and Park City into the international competition to host a second Olympics after the games in 2002.
The International Olympic Committee, it appears, could select the 2030 host as early as 2019 and as late as 2023.
The Park City area will be an important component of the bid. Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park are expected to be major competition venues, while a bid committee will likely see Park City itself as important to the transportation, security and celebration planning.
“I think the Olympics align well with our community spirit and our community values,” Mayor Andy Beerman said just after the selection was made public, indicating the announcement was exciting.
He said Park City is a winter-sports community with an Olympic legacy. He described the successes of athletes who have been groomed in the city. Beerman is a member of the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee and has led the municipal government’s involvement in the efforts.
The mayor said a next step will involve a community-wide discussion about an Olympic bid and what role Park City could play. He said he anticipates Park City will be critical to an Olympic program.
Beerman said there is the possibility the Park City area could gain additional competitions over those held locally during the Winter Olympics in 2002. He explained the IOC since 2002 has added sports to the Winter Olympics that may be proposed for the Park City area as part of the eventual bid package.
“Significant role any way you look at it,” the mayor said about the Park City area.
Colin Hilton, the CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, said the USOC in its decision embraces the international committee’s ideals. He said Salt Lake City and the wider region can stage an Olympics at a realistic cost and “put the focus on athletes, where it should be.”
“I think the USOC recognizes we represent a perfect opportunity to showcase what the Olympic movement needs right now,” said Hilton, who was a high-ranking staffer at the organizing committee that put on the Games of 2002, adding, “We can showcase very well the desired goals of the International Olympic Committee.”
The IOC is preparing to name a host in 2019 for the Winter Olympics in 2026. There appears to be a chance a host for the 2030 event could be named at that time as well. The Salt Lake City bid organizers are focused on 2030, but there remains persistent chatter that a chance for the Games of 2026 is still possible with just two cities bidding for the event that year – Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.
“We don’t know the future of what will happen next. We really need to remain patient,” Hilton said.
Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort have been identified as mountain venues, and the Utah Olympic Park would host the ski jumping and sliding sports. Soldier Hollow in Wasatch County would host cross-country skiing events under the concept. It is a similar overall plan to the Olympic map in 2002.