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Olympic officials impressed with Utah public transit, Rice-Eccles Stadium

The International Olympic Committee's Future Host Commission rode a special Olympic-wrapped TRAX train.
Kristine Weller
The International Olympic Committee's Future Host Commission rode a special Olympic-wrapped TRAX train.

Olympic officials toured the Rice-Eccles Stadium and Salt Lake City’s transit system Wednesday to help determine if Utah is the right choice for the 2034 Winter Olympics.

The Future Host Commission is visiting Utah’s Olympic venues before deciding whether to recommend bringing the Winter Games back to Salt Lake City in 2034. The commission started the multi-county tour at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.

In 2021, the stadium completed an $80 million renovation, adding more than 6,000 seats. Future Olympic Commission Chair Karl Stoss liked the additions.

Kristine Weller
The International Olympic Committee's Future Host Commission tour the Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.

“I've never seen such a stadium for the Olympic Winter Games," he said. "I think it's perfect for an opening ceremony or a closing ceremony.”

The commission also got to see the Olympic Village where athletes would stay. Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said he couldn’t see a better fit.

The commission then took a ride on the Utah Transit Authority’s intercity TRAX train from the U down to the Delta Center. The train featured a special Olympic wrap reading “ready to move the world again” with a snowboarder, speed skater, hockey player and ski jumper.

Stoss supported the transit system and its future plans, and although the commission rode for free, he thought the cost of a regular ride was too high.

Utah Transit Authority Executive Director Jay Fox outlined future transit plans that would support the Olympics. He said by 2030, Salt Lake City will have a new orange line running from Salt Lake City International Airport to the University of Utah. The city will also have additional bus rapid transit lanes and express buses.

Fox said UTA is also building a second track for its Frontrunner train which provides wider service to areas outside of downtown Salt Lake. With a single track, maintenance can only happen on Sundays when the train doesn’t run. The additional track would allow for simultaneous service and repairs.

“The moment we run a Sunday service, like we will for one day for the Air Show, our agencies can’t get out there," Fox said. "So once we have that complete double tracking, it's gonna make a huge, huge difference for the region.”

Stoss said overall he was very impressed with what he saw Wednesday. The International Olympic Committee will select a host for the 2034 Games on July 24, just before the 2024 Olympic Games begin in Paris.