IOC technical visit to Park City area deemed a ‘success’ |

IOC technical visit to Park City area deemed a ‘success’

An Olympics could be awarded by next May, says the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games

The International Olympic Committee made its rounds across Park City and the Salt Lake area last week in anticipation of the possibility of a future Winter Games, and officials involved in the bid seemed confident Utah will host either the 2030 or 2034 Olympics.

From Wednesday to Friday, a technical team from the IOC toured former Olympic venues along the Wasatch Front to investigate the facilities and provide feedback to the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. Fraser Bullock, the president and CEO of the Utah committee, characterized the visit as a success and said a Games could be awarded next May.

During the technical visit, three members of the IOC met the bid group and provided feedback on what it will take to host the Olympics, according to Tom Kelly, the spokesperson for the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. He said the local committee felt confident going into the visit because all the venues utilized in the 2002 Winter Olympics have been in constant use since then.

The site visit was the first to occur since the IOC adopted a less intense bidding process and was a functional trip compared to ceremonial ones in the past. The new, scaled-back process focuses on constant dialogue and collaboration. In the coming weeks, the IOC team is also slated to travel to several other locations being considered for the Winter Olympics, including Vancouver, Canada and possibly Spain.

On the first day, members of the technical team spent time in Salt Lake City. They toured Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies were held in 2002 and the former athlete village at the University of Utah.

The following day, the group was in the Park City area. Kelly said they visited the Utah Olympic Park, where bobsledding, ski jumping and luge competitions were held. Then they traveled to Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. The IOC team also made a stop at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, where cross-country skiing events took place, and in Provo to visit the Peaks Ice Arena – which was built in 1998 as an ice hockey and figure skating practice venue for the 2002 Olympics.

It’s unlikely there will be any changes to the events hosted at Soldier Hollow, but the sports held at the other sites may change, according to Kelly.

The Utah Olympic Park is also developing and expanding the West Peak and establishing a chair lift that could be used as an alternative location for some events. Bullock said it is an important project not only for the Winter Games efforts but because of the legacy it will create by allowing kids to train at the facility.

The International Olympic Committee made its rounds across Park City and the Salt Lake area last week in anticipation of the possibility of a future Winter Games including a stop at the Utah Olympic Park.
David Jackson/Park Record

“There’s a lot of flexibility because we have so much up there (in Park City) to offer,” Bullock said. “We have many new events since ’02 that will have to find a home. What we all saw was not only the beautiful resorts and the amount of flexibility but at each place the passion for the Olympics and Paralympics and the support of the people there and the legacy that they want to continue to build for Park City and this community.”

Kelly agreed. He said there’s been a dramatic increase in Winter Olympics events and the rising popularity of sports like freestyle skiing and snowboarding led to the consideration of the new Mayflower Mountain Resort as an Olympic venue. The resort is just east of Deer Valley and is anticipated to begin some operations this summer with skiers welcomed next winter.

At some point on Thursday, Park City Mayor Nann Worel and Ted Ligety, a retired alpine ski racer and two-time Olympic gold medalist, joined the IOC technical team for lunch and an interface discussion. Both serve on the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games.

The trip wrapped up on Friday in the West Valley City and Ogden area as the group visited former venues like Snowbasin Resort, Maverik Center and more. They also stopped by the Utah Department of Transportation Traffic Operation Center to better understand how traffic is controlled on busy roads like Interstate 80.

“It was a very successful visit,” Kelly said. “We know our venues are in great shape and we got a lot of good feedback.”

Bullock said the IOC team gave ideas or suggestions about nearly all the venues they toured and nearly everything is in place if Utah is chosen to host the Olympics. One of the most powerful messages, he said, was the need to “fit the Games to a city” instead of the other way around.

“They said, what you want to really do is understand what the important issues in a community are, what their hopes and aspirations are, and then serve as a catalyst to that community to help them accomplish their objectives,” Bullock said. “We’ve opened that door to collaboration, to discuss with (local leaders) exactly what Park City and Summit County are seeking to accomplish. Over time, we’ll get deeper in that understanding and how we can help them as a catalyst.”

He continued, “Now, we don’t have a checkbook where we can write big checks, but we certainly can be a catalyst to certain initiatives.”

Specifically, Bullock mentioned the importance of sustainability in the Park City area and an effort from the IOC to have “climate positive” Games by 2030. He said the IOC wants to be sensitive to areas of interest in local communities and plans to collaborate with Park City on the issue.

Moving forward, the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games’ first task is to compile the feedback it received from the IOC technical review committee. Then, a delegation will travel to the organization’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, in mid-June to continue the dialogue that all bid cities are going through.

Right after that, the committee will travel to Milan, Italy – the 2026 Winter Olympics host– for a debrief about the Beijing Olympics that took place in February. Bullock said they’d heard about the key lessons as they continue to work on their bid.

The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games will then start submitting thousands of pages of bid files, including hotel contracts, geographic planning and a vision statement, throughout the year. With the less formal dialogue process, Bullock said a bid for the Olympics can be awarded at any time.

“It’s really when the IOC feels like it has the right partner and the right selection to move forward,” he said. “Our belief is that the Games would most likely be awarded in May of 2023 at the IOC session.”

Summit County

The hummingbirds are back!

They will remain here for the summer to raise their young, heading south in July, August and September for the start of their fall migration.

See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.