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Olympic official says IOC and Utah can learn from each other

Members of the International Olympic Committee's Future Host Commission and Utah's Bid Committee discuss Olympic officials' trip to Utah ahead of the decision on the host of the 2034 Games.
Kristine Weller
Members of the International Olympic Committee's Future Host Commission and Utah's Bid Committee discuss Olympic officials' trip to Utah ahead of the decision on the host of the 2034 Games.

Olympic officials wrapped up their visit to Utah Saturday but want to continue a dialogue with Utah.

The International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission toured proposed Olympic venues as they consider Utah for the 2034 Winter Games. During their four-day trip, the commission visited the Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Utah Olympic Park and ski resorts in Park City, Soldier Hollow in Midway, and Snowbasin and the Utah Olympic Oval. The commission also participated in a community forum, rode on a TRAX train and spoke with local athletes.

Utah’s Bid Committee president Fraser Bullock said the commission told the team they undersold the venues in their bid for the 2034 Games. Commission chair Karl Stoss said all the venues were well maintained and the commission was impressed there wasn’t much work to be done.

“All were clearly still very much in demand for both competitive and community use," he said. "And we saw it in the past four days, from small children up to elite athletes, these are all of them in your venues.”

Stoss said something special about having an Olympics in Utah is all the venues are within an hour of downtown Salt Lake City. Nowhere else in the world is this the case. Further, Stoss said the Olympic Village in Salt Lake can host all competing athletes. This is important as athletes from all over the world can be in one place, unified.

However, what the commission loved even more than the venues were the people. Jacqueline Barrett, IOC Future Olympic Games Hosts Director, said she was surprised everyone the commission met, including young and old athletes, kids with their families and student athletes at the Univeristy of Utah, all had a passion for the Games.

“I was here in 2002, personally, but to see that passion still alive and so prevalent today, absolutely everywhere, was fantastic to see,” she said.

The commission also really liked seeing Utah’s efforts to promote sports with young people after the 2002 Olympics. The Youth Sports Alliance, which helps bring children to different winter sports, is one of the best examples as it was created because of the ‘02 Games.

Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said sports are important to promote in young people because not only are they good for health, but they promote values like respect.

“When you consider the state of the world today, the tensions all around the globe, sport matters, because it is based on values," he said. "In Paris, and in 2034, in the village up there in the university, you have every country irrespective of the passport, the religion, the race, or the political system. This is what we have to teach through sport, respect for everyone and everything.”

Stoss said Utah took a new approach this time with bidding for the Games and will be a role model for future hosts. He hopes other countries and states across the U.S. will learn from Utah and start to build programs to promote sports for kids and continue using Olympic venues. Stoss said even if Utah doesn’t get the 2034 Games, the Youth Sports Alliance is something he wants to see in other areas.

Stoss said Utah’s bid for the 2034 Games started with an open dialogue between partners and the dialogue will continue so Utah and the International Olympic Committee can learn from each other.

The Future Host Commission will write a report on their visit to Utah for the IOC to consider before voting on a host for the 2034 Games. The IOC will announce its decision on July 24 ahead of the Summer Games in Paris.