U.S. Olympic committee expected to temporarily open Park City location during Beijing Games

Team USA store, hospitality house slated to operate along Main Street amid winter sports festivities

A sculpture along S.R. 224 in Park City commemorates the community’s role during the 2002 Winter Olympics, one of the visible reminders of the games of that year.
Park Record file photo

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee is expected to temporarily open a location along Main Street during the Winter Olympics in February, bringing the organization to Park City at a moment when the community will be watching athletes with local ties compete in China, commemorating the 2002 Winter Olympics and looking toward the possibility of the state hosting another Games.

City Hall outlined the plans in a report prepared in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting that is scheduled on Thursday. Staffers are slated to present an update about the efforts to mark the 20th anniversary of the Games of 2002 in February. It had been expected for months that Park City would celebrate the anniversary, but the planned presence of the U.S. committee had not been widely publicized until early in the week.

According to the City Hall report, the USOPC and a related foundation will organize a Team USA Hospitality House at the Kimball Terrace, located at one of the corners of the high-profile intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue. It will operate from Feb. 4 until Feb. 20. The hospitality house will cater to sponsors, Olympic partners and donors, with Games watch parties, speakers and meet-and-greet events with athletes planned.

A Team USA store will also open at the location, selling apparel and what the report describes as a line of goods celebrating the anniversary of the 2002 Games. The store will be open to anyone.

The Colorado-based USOPC decision to temporarily open a Team USA location in Park City brings the organization to one of the nation’s most important winter-sports communities during the Games. U.S. Ski & Snowboard is based in Park City and the Utah Olympic Park is seen internationally as a top-tier complex for ski jumping and sliding sports. A group of athletes from Park City or with ties to the community has been selected to compete in China.

Details about the Park City location from the USOPC itself were not available by Tuesday morning. The size of the delegation expected to travel to Park City was not known, and it was not known whether leadership from the USOPC is anticipated to be in Park City.

The Team USA location, though, could provide an opportunity for talks — formal or informal — about the efforts to host a Winter Olympics in Utah as early as the event in 2030. The USOPC in 2018 selected Salt Lake City as the nation’s bid city for a future Games, and the 2030 Olympics are seen as a possibility. The International Olympic Committee is expected to turn its attention to the selection of a host for the Games of 2030 after the close of the Olympics in China. The 2030 Olympics with near certainty will be the next Games to be awarded, possibly later in 2022.

The Park City area plays an important role in the bid for a Games. Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park are identified as key competition venues, as was the case in 2002, and Main Street would likely be tapped again as a celebration zone.

The area, meanwhile, holds influence on the group that is crafting the bid, known as the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. Mayor Nann Worel took Park City’s seat on the committee upon her swearing-in earlier in January, and there are others from the Park City area with posts in the organization.

It was not clear early in the week whether the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games or City Hall expect to hold meetings with officials from the USOPC at the Park City location. It was also not clear whether the USOPC contingent plans to conduct any research into the Salt Lake City bid, such as touring places identified as potential competition or noncompetition venues.

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