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Utah Olympic bid committee confident in securing future Games

OLYMPICS CROSS COUNTRY Soldier Hollow 2002
Andrew Medichini
/
Associated Press
Competitors begin the men's 4x10km cross-country relay at the Winter Olympics Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002, at Soldier Hollow in Midway.

Members of the committee working to bring a future Winter Olympics to Utah told Park City and Summit County leaders they remain confident in bringing a future Games to the Wasatch Back.

Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton told the Park City Council and Summit County Council Tuesday that the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) new vision for the games could benefit Utah’s chances.

The update came during a quarterly joint meeting of the two councils Tuesday morning at the Richins Building in Kimball Junction.

In December, the IOC delayed a decision on the 2030 Games to consider how it could better manage the effects of climate change.

The committee said it was considering having an established short list of cities host Winter Games every couple decades rather than continuing the current bidding system.

Hilton said given Utah’s existing facilities, the state is a great candidate.

“Given the amount of cities that could potentially be hosts of a Winter Games, we actually think we’re one of those good locations," Hilton said.

He said the IOC is still figuring out how the rotational process would work.

"So in the meantime, we’re focused really just on ‘30 and ‘34,” Hilton said.

He said an effort to become part of an Olympics rotation would have to include community support.

Utah’s main competition for the 2030 and 2034 Games are Vancouver, Canada and Sapporo, Japan.

Those two cities’ bids have hit stumbling blocks. The provincial government of British Columbia has said it won’t financially support Vancouver’s bid, and a corruption scandal involving an Olympic official in Japan has clouded Sapporo’s prospects.

“I’m not going to comment in too much specifics, because we really keep our focus on our bid," said Tom Kelly, spokesman for the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games.

"But both Sapporo and Vancouver are still considered interested parties and are still continuing dialogue with the IOC.”

He also said it’s always a possibility other cities could enter the race.

Hilton said he’s more than halfway through venue use agreements with local resorts. He said talks with Park City Mountain and Deer Valley are both going well.

Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong said the challenge for officials right now is evaluating how the Wasatch Back’s built environment will look in a decade and how that could impact future Games.

“We have the base at Park City, which is going to be whatever that’s going to be," Armstrong said.

"We have the base at Deer Valley, that’s going to be whatever that’s going to be. And we also have Mayflower coming on, that the president of the Senate regards as quite possibly the best resort on the planet when it’s completed.

"So I’m sure that MIDA and Mr. Adams may have some ideas about what kind of engagement he would like to see.”

Armstrong was referring to Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, who is the board chair of the military authority overseeing development of the Mayflower ski resort, called MIDA.

Kelly said that the committee has talked with Extell, the firm that is developing the resort along US-40 in Wasatch County, about it having a role in future Games. He said there is more to learn about the venue possibilities.

A final decision on the 2030 Games is not expected until 2024.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.