Changes Coming to Future Olympic Bid Process

Jun 3, 2019

Credit Leslie Thatcher KPCW

It’s a waiting game for the state of Utah as Olympic promoters make plans to host a future Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee doesn’t choose a host city for the 2030 games for another four years… In the meantime, promoters are making plans for what a future Olympics would look like.  Fraser Bullock – who served as Chief Operation Officer for the 2002 Winter Games provided the attendees of the Wasatch Back Economic Summit last week with an Olympics update. KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher has more.

Last December, the United States Olympic Committee selected Utah’s capital city to bid on behalf of the United States – most likely for the 2030 Winter Games – but possibly even the 2034 games. The IOC won’t decide who hosts the 2030 games until 2023. Fraser Bullock, who now serves on a Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee said last week, Utah has cleared the first hurdle and is now a partner with the USOC. Now the state moves to the International arena.   

With the election of a new IOC president Thomas Bach, Fraser said the IOC has gone through a metamorphosis.  Bach commissioned a study titled Agenda 2020 which has put a number of changes in place.

“When he took office he said we need to look forward at things that need to change for Olympic Games.  Agenda 2020 spawned many initiatives one of which was something called the New Norm and the New Norm was saying what are all the changes we could make to make it easier for cities to host games and one of the things being it's way too expensive,” said Bullock.

According to Bullock, Utah spent $2B on the 2002 games – Pyong Chang, South Korea spent about $12 billion and Sochi, Russia spent $50 billion but he noted they also built a city in the mountains. But the cost of staging the games is only part of it - the bidding process he said also needs to change. The IOC has a 7 member working group – The New Norm -  on which Bullock sits. He said they have come up with more than 100 recommendations.

“And one of the things that’s happening is bidding,” said Bullock. Chicago spent $100 million on its bid -  $100 million dollars -  and that's way too much money that is spent and then you have a bunch of candidates lined up and one wins, and a bunch lose and so the IOC recognizes that and they’re  reforming that process.”

Bullock said the committee will present  some other changes to the IOC later this month which he called significant.

“What they're doing differently is that they said they are proposing that is no longer bidding process -  it's a partnership process,” said Bullock. Where they will just have a dialogue with you and  they're going to form a group of athletes and experts and different things like that to meet with your city – your country and your city and say what's gonna work for you.  And this could happen tomorrow -  I mean - well after this session in June -  you could start a dialogue at any time for 2030 or 2034 - it doesn't have to wait, and it doesn't have to be awarded specifically to a calendar.”

Bullock also asked attendees to tell him what they would like to see in a future Olympics. Chamber Board member Liza Simpson said the Olympics must be sustainable, especially given the time and money Park City and Summit County have spent on their sustainability efforts.

Todd Anderson said he’d like to see some sort of legacy project that could help with Park City’s current traffic problems. While traffic worked well during the games – he said it would be nice to see that continue after a future Olympics.

And Tracy Taylor suggested a future Utah Olympics do something to financially support the athletes  - and treat them better so they can train.