Park City mayor, sports executive immediately give area influence in Olympic bid
Mayor Andy Beerman and Colin Hilton, who is the president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, on Wednesday were named to high-level posts in the organization that will pursue a Winter Olympics as early as the event in 2030, immediately giving the Park City area a level of influence that reflects the large role it would play in a second Games.
Hilton was named one of two vice-chairs of the board of directors of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. As the leader of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, the not-for-profit that oversees the Utah Olympic Park, the Utah Olympic Oval and Soldier Hollow, Hilton holds one of the state’s top winter-sports positions. He was a key staffer in the organizing committee that put on the Winter Olympics in 2002 and later worked at City Hall.
Beerman, meanwhile, was named to the executive committee of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. He has been City Hall’s representative in the discussions about hosting a second Winter Olympics.
The two appointments essentially ensure the interests of the Park City area will be addressed at the outset of the bid for a Games. The proposed Winter Olympic map includes three competition venues in the Park City area — Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park. Upward of 50% of the competitions would be staged in the Park City area or nearby Soldier Hollow in Wasatch County. The Park City area would also be crucial to the transportation and security plans, and it seems likely any organizing committee and City Hall would jointly plan the Games celebrations in Park City, as was the case in 2002.
The early appointment of the mayor starkly contrasts with what transpired in the years before the Games in 2002. It was not until after a bribery scandal centered on the bidding for those Olympics that the mayor of Park City at the time, Brad Olch, and others representing local governments elsewhere in the Olympic region were appointed to the board of trustees.
The Olch appointment, made in early 1999, came nearly four years after the Games had been awarded to Salt Lake City and just three years before opening ceremonies. Significant work had already been undertaken by the organizing committee by then. Beerman’s work as a member of the executive committee will commence at the beginning of the bidding.
There had also been friction between City Hall and the organizing committee regarding the timeline of the Olympic work as well as the communications between the two sides prior to the Olch appointment. Although the appointment of Olch was not seen as the singular catalyst to better relations, his presence on the board of trustees undoubtedly played a role as the sides ultimately crafted a widely praised Games plan for the Park City area. Beerman will be expected to attempt to build a strong relationship between the municipal government and the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games from the start.
Beerman was not in attendance on Wednesday at the state Capitol as the membership of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games was named.
Hilton delivered remarks at the Capitol addressing the continued use of the venues from the Olympics in 2002. He credited sports, business and elected officials from the 1980s until the 2000s for their ideas, saying they were able to “shape a vision of what legacy would look like, and with the collective efforts of many kicked off a series of actions that would shape how Utah operated its legacy efforts for years to come.”
“From the Salt Lake Valley to the Heber Valley, from Ogden to Provo, we have figured out a way to find sustainable uses of these unique sport facilities. And not only kept them operating but having molded them into true assets in their communities,” Hilton said.
Hilton also spoke of the upcoming bidding.
“Our future Games will provide us an opportunity to align visionary goals of our state and local communities, and I look forward to joining together, rallying around a common cause and seeing what new successes we can achieve when we set our minds to it,” he said.
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