Winter Olympics 2026: Utah would have had ‘good shot,’ Park City mayor says
Would the results have been different on Monday when the International Olympic Committee chose the host of the 2026 Winter Olympic had Salt Lake City been in the running?
The IOC selected the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo for the Games in 2026, ending a bidding process that became notable as potential cities dropped out of the running, citing the costs of hosting an Olympics. The Italian bid bested the one from Stockholm after months of discussions about finances, the map of venues and other issues both of the bids encountered.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee in late 2018 selected Salt Lake City with Park City as a crucial venue as the nation’s bid city for a future Winter Olympics. The USOPC will decide which Games to pursue, likely the event in 2030. There was chatter early on about the possibility of a Salt Lake City bid for the Games of 2026. There was also talk about Salt Lake City becoming a contingency city for 2026 should the other bids falter.
People involved in the Salt Lake City bidding have long said the Olympic region of Utah is prepared to host another Games and see the bid as competitive against any other that could be seeking an Olympics.
Andy Beerman, the mayor of Park City, said in an interview on Monday after the IOC decision a Salt Lake City bid for the Olympics in 2026 would have been strong against the finalist cities of Milan and Stockholm.
“I think we would have been competitive for 2026,” the mayor said. “The reality is we’re built for the Olympics.”
Beerman is a member of the Salt Lake Executive Committee for the Games, the group that is overseeing the bid, and previously was a member of the Utah Exploratory Committee that won the right for Salt Lake City to be the U.S. bid city for a future Games. Beerman said Salt Lake City “would have had a good shot” had it been in the competition to host the Olympics of 2026. He also acknowledged the USOPC had “good reasons” not to pursue the Winter Olympics in 2026 since it is focused on the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Los Angeles, as well as structural changes within the USOPC.
There has been little discussion at City Hall about the Olympics since the selection of Salt Lake City as the bid city in December. Beerman predicts the IOC, the USOPC and the Salt Lake committee will “reignite conversations” late in the summer since the 2026 host has been named. The mayor said it is too early for City Hall to launch a broad community discussion about the Olympic bid since details about the process and timeline are not set.
The Park City area has a prominent role in the Olympic bid, as it had during the Winter Olympics of 2002. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort are identified as mountain venues while the Utah Olympic Park would host the ski jumping and sliding sports. Soldier Hollow in Wasatch County is identified as the venue for cross-country skiing events. The venue map is similar to the one of the Olympics in 2002, when the Park City area hosted upward of 50 percent of the competitions.
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Park City planning turnover is occurring amid the continuing discussions regarding a major development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort, meaning it is certain that some of the people who are expected to have a key role in a decision regarding the PCMR project will be newcomers to the long-running discussions.