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SLC-Utah Organizing Committee planning Winter Olympic bid angling for 2034

Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games members at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games
Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games members at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

At a strategic board meeting Wednesday, the committee planning Utah’s bid for the Winter Olympics laid out the schedule going forward. That could include juggling simultaneous bids for 2030 and 2034.

Fraser Bullock, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Organizing Committee for the Games, reported the committee is ahead of schedule on developing a Winter Olympic bid.

He said Wednesday there’s no telling whether Salt Lake City will be a priority candidate for the 2030 or 2034 games. But the committee would prefer 2034.

“Because then we don't have the back-to-back challenge, with Los Angeles, of back-to-back games,” he said. “Now, certainly, we could host the games in 2030. But it's a little more challenging having those games so proximate to each other.”

The next step is to put the finishing touches on what’s called a preferred host submission, basically the technical name for an Olympic bid document. That’s early, because the IOC only requests it after it selects a city as a preferred host.

Bullock said the Utah games committee will submit the bid to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee in June. That’s early too, because the official review will happen at the USOPC’s September board meeting.

But by submitting in June, the Utah games committee will be able to incorporate feedback before the USOPC board meets. That’s when Utah hopes its bid will be accepted and approved at the national level.

If it is, Utah will have its country’s endorsement heading into the October meeting of the entire International Olympic Committee.

Bullock expressed excitement about the IOC’s meeting in October. He said they’re expected to talk about the future impact of climate change on the games, as well as instituting a rotational structure, which could include Utah.

“And then the third one, which is particularly important to us, is the notion of the potential of a dual award,” Bullock said.

A dual award means announcing the different sites for 2030 and 2034 at the same time. It would be something new, allowing Utah to bid for 2030 and 2034 simultaneously.

The IOC won’t give out a dual award this October, but Bullock expects them to explain what the process of choosing two sites at once would mean.

It’s been a different process for Utah’s games committee since the 2002 bid. The IOC instituted new steps in 2019, including “continuous dialogue” and “targeted dialogue.”

Utah, and many other places, are in the continuous dialogue phase. This gives the state access to resources, advice and support from the IOC to help them develop a bid.

Bullock said they hope the IOC will reach out for a targeted dialogue after its executive committee meeting in December.

“Targeted dialogue means that you are designated a preferred host for a specific edition of the games,” he said.

So Utah could have a targeted dialogue with the IOC about 2030 or 2034.

There’s not an official IOC deadline for getting bids in. Salt Lake City is one of only three cities to have officially begun the process.

The others are Sapporo, Japan, and Stockholm, Sweden. Switzerland has expressed informal interest.

“Our strategy has always been to be prepared, to be ahead of the process,” Bullock said. “And that's why technically, some of these things we're doing wouldn't be due until a targeted dialogue.”

The Utah games committee said it has secured 75% of the contracts with potential venues.

Park City and Deer Valley spokespeople did not confirm whether that includes their venues in time for this report. A spokesperson for the Utah games committee said they couldn't release details about the contracts.

Finally, the committee also announced the launch of its website, slc-ut.org, in early- to mid-June. It will have more information on the bid process once it’s live.

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