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IOC visits Park City venues ahead of potential 2034 Olympic bid

Parker Malatesta
Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss and other members of the International Olympic Committee at Park City Mountain.

Members of the International Olympic Committee visited prospective 2034 Winter Games venues in the Park City area Thursday. Local leaders pitched a message of sustainability and youth athlete development.

After spending their entire first day in Salt Lake, the International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission arrived at Utah Olympic Park in Summit County Thursday afternoon, to meet with local athletes and elected officials.

Standing beside the luge track, 25-year-old ski jumper Casey Larson told IOC members a future Games would help build upon the sporting legacy established in Utah after the 2002 Olympics.

“We are starting to kick a lot of butt; it’s really cool to see,” Larson said. “My teammates are flipping the script to say the least. U.S. hasn’t been the best ski jumping country for quite a long time, and we’re really trying to make steps to change that. And I think another Games coming here in 2034 could just obviously catapult that. I don’t know if my knees are going to hold on that long. Hopefully they will, but it would be really cool to compete at home if given the chance.”

The group quickly moved to the McGrath Mountain Center at the base of Park City Mountain. There, Park City Chamber President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff explained its 10-year plan for sustainable tourism to IOC officials.

“It’s extremely ambitious, which is right in line with the ambitious goals that our entire community has, for climate action, for zero waste to our landfills, to cardboard initiatives and recycling,” Wesselhoff said. “We’re so excited to have this plan be really, a model across the world. An international model for how to balance a robust, thriving economy that relies on tourism.”

Leaders of the National Ability Center joined the tour, along with Park City Mountain VP and COO Deirdra Walsh.

“I kind of have to pinch myself that we are here today with all of you celebrating Park City Mountain as one of the venues potentially for the 2034 Games,” Walsh said. 

U.S. Ski and Snowboard CEO Sophie Goldschmidt told the IOC delegation Park City is the “best place to train in the world.”

“We didn’t used to be based in this area, but we moved here off the back of 2002,” Goldschmidt said. “So that we can take advantage of all these facilities, and we’re using them on a daily basis. And not just us, by the way, we have a lot of other national teams come here.”

Before heading to Midway’s Soldier Hollow, Park City Mayor Nann Worel accompanied the IOC on a private tour of Deer Valley Resort.

The IOC’s Future Host Commission will be in Utah through Saturday.

Next month the group will make a recommendation about Salt Lake City’s 2034 Winter Games bid.

The city has been named the preferred host for the 2034 Winter Games.

Utah’s organizing committee expects the award to be finalized July 24, or Pioneer Day, when the IOC general assembly meets in France ahead of the 2024 Games in Paris.