Park City’s Olympic representation poised to shift with change in mayor’s office
Nann Worel will take seat on committee seeking a second Games for the state
There will be two Park City mayoral elections before the opening ceremonies of the 2030 Winter Olympics, but the current mayor-elect of Park City is expected to have a key role in the discussions about the prospects of the region hosting another Games regardless of her political future.
Salt Lake City is the nation’s bid city for a future Winter Olympics and the Games of 2030 appear to be a possibility. The Park City area is crucial to the efforts with three major competition venues and the likelihood Main Street would be a top celebration zone.
Nann Worel earlier in November won the mayor’s office. She is scheduled to be sworn into office for a four-year term in early January. The Games of 2030 will, with near certainty, be awarded during her administration, probably at the latest sometime in 2023.
Although Worel would need to win two more terms in office, during the City Hall elections of 2025 and 2029, to hold office in February of 2030, much of the work in preparation for a Games that year would occur well before opening ceremonies.
The current mayor, Andy Beerman, has been the municipal government’s point person in the Olympic discussions, but his defeat in an attempt for a second term forces a change in the Olympic representation of City Hall.
Beerman is a member of the Governing Board of Directors of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, the organization that is essentially the bid committee for a second Olympics. His appointment was seen as an acknowledgment of the importance of Park City to an overall Olympics.
The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games in June altered the structure of the organization in a manner that, importantly, addresses the Park City role on the Governing Board of Directors. Under the alteration, some of the seats were assigned on a permanent basis to the people who hold various public or private offices. In the case of Park City, the post is assigned to whoever is the mayor rather than Beerman himself.
Once Worel is sworn into office in January, she will take the seat on the Governing Board of Directors. The timing is notable. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are scheduled in the month after Worel takes office. It is expected the International Olympic Committee after the Games in China will turn its attention to selecting a host for the Games in 2030. Salt Lake City is seen as having a strong bid after the successful Winter Olympics in 2002 and with the sports infrastructure still intact as the 20th anniversary of the Games nears.
The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games that is seeking an Olympics would likely be reconstituted into an organizing committee if the event is awarded to Salt Lake City. Park City would be expected to maintain an important presence in an organizing committee.
There have been signals that Park City leaders want to hold a communitywide conversation about hosting an Olympics. Some of those talks were pushed back by the pandemic, but it seems that a broad discussion about a second Games could be held in coming months. Worel as the mayor and as the representative to the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games would be expected to lead that community discussion.
Worel in an interview said she recently talked to the current mayor about the Olympic role and acknowledged she has a “steep learning curve ahead of me.” Worel did not live in Park City during the Olympics in 2002 and has never attended a Games.
The mayor-elect said she wants to discuss the efforts with other members of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games once she takes office. Worel also said there are mixed opinions in the community about the possibility of hosting another Olympics. Worel said, though, it is important that Park City “has a seat at the table” with the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games.
“I’m learning,” she said. “I have a lot to learn.”
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The Park City Council will soon be short one member and Parkites will have an opportunity to take the seat with no campaign required. Officials on Tuesday are scheduled to hold an event designed for people who are considering submitting their name as a candidate for the appointment.