Olympic committee involves ex-Deer Valley leader, speedskating legend, others with Park City ties
The roster of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, the organization seated on Wednesday to pursue a Winter Olympics, includes people with ties to the Park City area representing a range of backgrounds and industries.
The Park City area has long been the center of winter sports in the state and it was expected that any committee formed for the Olympic bid would involve a slate of figures with Park City experience of some sort.
Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton, a veteran of the organizing committee that put on the Winter Olympics in 2002, was named a vice chair of the board of directors while Mayor Andy Beerman was selected to be a member of the executive committee. Hilton and Beerman are the two most prominent Park City-area figures in the Olympic discussions, but the others will have influence on the efforts as well.
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The others include:
• Chris Waddell, a Paralympic champion who was named to the executive committee alongside the mayor.
• Eric Heiden, an orthopedic surgeon who practices in Park City. Heiden is a legendary speedskater and Olympic champion.
• Becky Kearns, a former executive at Zions Bank who has been honored for embodying the spirit of hospitality in Park City. She remains a consultant in community development for the bank.
• Nathan Rafferty, a Park City resident who is the president and CEO of Ski Utah.
• Bob Wheaton, the former president and chief operating officer of Deer Valley Resort. Wheaton led Deer Valley through the 2002 Winter Olympics, when it hosted a program of ski racing and freestyle skiing competitions.
• Shannon Bahrke, an Olympic medal-winning moguls skier associated with Deer Valley.
The Park City-area representation on the committee is seen as critical to ensuring the local interests will be considered in the decisions as the bid for a second Winter Olympics is finalized. The Olympic blueprints include three major competition venues in the Park City area — Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park. The three venues were also used in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Upward of half of the events in a future Games would be held in the Park City area and Soldier Hollow in nearby Wasatch County, as was the case in 2002.
Cindy Crane, the chair of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games board of directors, in an interview noted the importance of the Park City-area representation as a result of the large role the community would play in a Games.
“It’s so critical we have all of these ties,” she said.
Crane said Park City will have “absolutely, in every way” involvement in the bidding process. She also said there are plans for a host cities and communities committee. Crane acknowledged there are no elected officials from Summit County on the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games but said they will be involved with the host cities and communities committee.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee in 2018 selected Salt Lake City to bid on a future Winter Olympics. The bid is expected to target the Games in 2030 or 2034.
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