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Salt Lake included as IOC considers rotating Winter Games amid climate change

Kristine Weller
Utah is aspiring to host the 2034 Winter Olympic Games.

Olympic officials say climate change could eventually limit the cities able to host the Winter Games. The IOC is considering rotating the Games among a few locations long-term, and Salt Lake City would be one of them.

Olympic officials visited Utah last week to tour proposed venues for the 2034 Winter Games, a decade ahead of the event. Olympic officials are also planning for the Winter Olympics in 2070 and beyond.

With climate change in mind, the International Olympic Committee is considering a rotation of Winter Olympics hosts. Cities wouldn’t have to rebid for the Olympics and would instead be guaranteed to host every 20-30 years.

Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi [doo-bee] said the IOC is looking for two things in a rotating host: climate reliability and good economic conditions. Dubi said Utah meets both criteria and is one of about 12 locations worldwide that will be cold enough to host future Games.

“We have not decided upon a rotation," he said. "But most definitely, when we project ourselves long term in the future, Utah, Salt Lake City, is one of the regions that will be here as well.”

Ahead of 2034 and as part of a potential rotation, Olympic officials said they were happy to see the state’s emphasis on youth programs and vision to elevate local communities, sport and the Games experience.

However, IOC’s Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss said after 2050, it’s unclear if any locations will be cold enough to host the Winter Games.

“We are quite sure that we could do it here till 2050, with all the climate reports we read, but we have to think a little bit in a longer distance, what happens in 2060 and 2070,” he said.

Stoss said Olympic officials are taking on the challenge to figure out how to continue the Games for decades to come.

Salt Lake City is the preferred host for the 2034 Games and is the only official bid being considered. The IOC will select a host for the 2034 Games on July 24 or Pioneer Day in Utah.

The 2024 Summer Olympics begin in Paris July 26.