The movement for a 2030 Utah Winter Olympics is continuing to expand their footprint. Most recently a leader from the movement spoke with the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce.
While speaking to the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Director Collin Hilton praised the center as a public amenity and as a laboratory for future Olympic athletes.
“We are just as happy to have kids who learn life lessons through sports programs as much as we love to also celebrate the high achievers that happen to go on and represent the United States in biathlon, or cross-country skiing or whatever sport.” Hilton said, “I’m not after creating Olympians. Olympians are a byproduct of a good system that we create in these facilities.”
Hilton addressed the members of the chamber about the future Olympic bid. While 2030 is the most likely date for an Olympic bid, Hilton didn’t rule out a 2026 Olympic games.
“There is a selection process this June to pick the 2026 Olympic Winter and Paralympic games site.” Hilton explained, “There’s two cities left after about seven that were initially in that. Most recently you probably heard that Calgary was interested and then they had a vote to the people that said, ‘no thanks.’ That’s been happening a lot in the Olympic world. Stories like Sochi that spent $52 billion on hosting a games in Russia. In Brazil, they did not have a plan and their facilities are decaying and falling by the wayside after spending lots of money on them. Those stories are why most regions of the world are going ‘eh not really worth it, and we don’t want to use public funds to do that.’”
Leaders in the Utah Olympic movement believe the games could be funded without taxpayer dollars.
“We can do this with all private funds with the exception of security costs which would come from the federal government.” Hilton continued, “Instead of $52 billion like the Russians spent. We forecast in 2018 dollars we could do this for $1.3 billion. B is a big number too, but most of those funds come from broadcast TV revenues, sponsorships, those kinds of elements. We feel very optimistic that there’s a new model of how the games should be run. We can actually showcase that here in Utah. We are innovators and we are ones who love to rally behind the cause that we believe in.”
Hilton said they have a vision of shifting the objective of the host city during the games from pleasing the international community to advancing objectives of the host cities.
“It’s not in some places all about growth and economic development.” Hilton said, “For Salt Lake City it might be a catalyst to address air quality issues. For Park City it’s about addressing public transportation systems. What I leave you with is what does Heber Valley want to look like in 2030? What local visions do we want to be able to showcase to the world? How do we want to say this is who we are as a region? The Olympics always represent a very inspirational and a very terrific accelerant to getting to a point where the community wants to be, and it can be a tool to bring in resources that you might not otherwise get. So the biggest trouble is defining what it is that you want.”