It’s been over 16 years since the Winter Olympics first came to Utah in 2002. Now the United States Olympic Committee has endorsed efforts for a return of the games.
The United States Olympic Committee selected Salt Lake City as the US candidate for a future Winter Olympic and Paralympic Bid Friday afternoon. Salt Lake City was selected over Denver, Colorado.
The USOC said in a press release 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.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert said in a tweet that Utah is proud to have the greatest snow on earth and the fastest speed skating ice in the world, Herbert also said that Utah would love to once again welcome the world’s athletes to Salt Lake City.
Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation director Colin Hilton said the announcement was an affirmation of all the good things that’s been done in Utah since the 2002 Winter Olympics.
“This is a bit of an affirmation to a lot of hard work over the years and that’s what I think everyone’s proud about.” Hilton said.
Although there is a bit of celebration, Hilton says there’s more work ahead.
“We’re excited to put Utah as the candidate city in a future effort but we do have to remain patient and we have to wait for the USOC to decide when they’ll be able to put our region forward." Hilton explained, "Right now that effort is focused on a 2030 process. The timeline for that is still needing to be defined.”
The selection doesn’t guarantee the USOC will push for the 2030 Olympics, it could mean a different Olympic bid.
“What the USOC is saying while the effort is focused on 2030." Hilton continued, "It could be 2034 it could be whatever. It’s only speculation at this point of what’s going to happen with the 2026 process so right now the only thing we can for sure say is that the USOC is committed to putting us forward for that 2030 process and we’ll go from here.”
Hilton encouraged fans to come out and support the big events coming this winter.
"Whether they’re world championships with the snowboard and freestyle or the biathlon world cups at Solider Hollow or world cup speed skating down at the Olympic Oval. We’ve got lots of exciting things and it’s always great to see big crowds out to those events.”