Salt Lake City is the only candidate for Winter Olympics in 2034

Don Rogers and Jay Hamburger
The Park Record
Park City would play a large role in a future Olympics hosted by Salt Lake City.
Park Record file photo

The International Olympics Committee, meeting in Mumbai, India, has made Salt Lake City the only candidate for the Winter Games in 2034, the body announced Sunday morning.

Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said in a statement: “The decision by the IOC Session today puts Salt Lake City-Utah solidly on the road towards a potential award at the Paris Games next July. Our strategy of staying ahead of the required steps in the process of obtaining venue and governmental guarantees at all levels has provided the IOC with an opportunity for a proven, reliable preferred host in Salt Lake City-Utah in 2034.”

France, Sweden and Switzerland were highlighted for 2030, along with Salt Lake City-Utah if needed, according to the announcement from the IOC.

“We’ve reached this pivotal point in the process thanks to the remarkable partnerships that have been built including our political leaders at all levels, our host venue communities, our boards, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Utah Sports Commission, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the winter national governing bodies and the IOC itself,” Bullock said. “Most of all, we have been had the foundational support of the people of Utah who have seen the benefits that the Games bring to our communities.”

The IOC made this decision sooner than most anticipated. Just Friday, the leadership of the International Olympic Committee on Friday approved the awarding of the Winter Olympics of 2030 and 2034 at the same time, a decision the group seeking a Games in Utah has been awaiting as it continues to prepare a bid.

The International Olympic Committee announced Sunday it had ratified the recommendation of the Future Host Commission to green light the process of issuing a double award for the 2030 and 2034 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games without objection.

According to the announcement, the Future Host Commission will now make formal recommendations to the IOC Executive Board, which meets Nov. 30-Dec. 1, to consider interested parties for the next step of Targeted Dialogue. The double award could be made at the IOC Session next July prior to the Paris Games.

In its presentation, the Future Host Commission singled out Salt Lake City-Utah for having 100% of its government guarantees in place. The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games has secured guarantees from all host venue communities and the State of Utah, as well as federal guarantees, officials said.

The IOC had requested on Friday that the Future Host Commission, a key group in the selection process, recommend the 2030 and 2034 preferred hosts. The cities at that point could be invited into another level of discussions, known as the Targeted Dialogue phase. The Future Host Commission recommendations were expected to be made in late October or in November, with the Executive Board potentially acting on the recommendations during meetings on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Instead the IOC announced Salt Lake City as the only candidate for 2034.

Salt Lake City’s bid committee had expressed a preference for the 2034 Games, but also said it was willing and ready to host the 2030 Games. Questions about whether it is best for Salt Lake City and the wider Olympic region to host a Games in 2030 and 2034 have loomed over the discussions for months.

The 2034 bid avoids an overlap in the fundraising by the organizers of a Games in Utah and the committee putting on the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

“Everything is in place,” Bullock had said Friday. “All the heavy lifting for the bid phase is done.”

The decision requires the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games to adapt the materials, including the budget, to incorporate the 2034 event. He said, though, most of the hundreds of contracts negotiated by the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, such as those with competition venues and those with lodging properties, contemplated a Games in 2030 or 2034. Bullock said there will be additional talks between the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games and the Future Host Commission in the period before the meetings on Nov. 30 and Dec 1.

Bullock, who was a high-ranking official in the organizing committee that put on the 2002 Winter Olympics, also mentioned the spirit of the community and the role the Park City area and Wasatch County played 21 years ago.

The Park City area is crucial to the conceptual Winter Olympic map, as was the case during the Games in 2002. Park City Mountain, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park are identified as important competition venues in the concept map, as is Soldier Hollow in nearby Wasatch County. The Park City area would also be key to the transportation, security and celebration plans, similarly to the blueprints for the Games of 21 years ago.

City Hall and the County Courthouse are heavily involved in the efforts, but officials in Park City and Summit County, like the others, are awaiting a decision by the IOC. If a Games is awarded, leaders in the city and county would be expected to start building an early foundation for the years of planning that will follow. 

The IOC traditionally awarded a Games seven years prior to the year of the event but is amid a wide-ranging review of the future of the movement, including the impact of a changing climate on the Winter Olympics. There has also been discussion about creating a set of cities as the hosts of the Winter Olympics on a rotational basis.


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