Winter Olympics 2030: Could ‘Park City’ be added to the name of the bid?
The Swedish bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics is dubbed Stockholm-Are, acknowledging what would be the primary Games city of Stockholm and the location of skiing and snowboarding events in Are.
The Italian bid for the Games of 2026 is known as Milan-Cortina, a moniker that also lists the main Olympic city of Milan and the partner mountain community of Cortina, which would host competitions in skiing, sliding sports and other events.
The International Olympic Committee has allowed the bidders for the Games of 2026 to use the dual names, saying in a release earlier in January the “names of the candidatures reflect the projects and their maximum use of existing, traditional winter sports venues.”
The allowance presents an intriguing possibility for the Olympic region of Utah’s bid for the Winter Olympics of 2030. Salt Lake City is the primary city, as it was in the 2002 Winter Olympic era, but Park City is crucial to the capital city’s bid. The proposed venue map for an Olympics in 2030 includes three venues in the Park City area — Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park.
The Park City area would host skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping and the sliding sports in an Olympics, making the community one of the busiest locations in the region. The area hosted approximately half of the events during the Olympics in 2002 and a similar role is envisioned in the bid for a future Games.
But there have not been discussions about adding the name “Park City” to the Olympic bid, perhaps calling the bid and then possibly the Games themselves the “Salt Lake City-Park City” Olympics in a similar fashion to the Italian and Swedish bids. If that was the case, Park City would likely generate unprecedented publicity for decades as the event would be officially remembered with the community’s name alongside Salt Lake City.
Fraser Bullock, the co-chair of the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee and the former chief operating officer of the organizing committee that staged the Olympics in 2002, said there has been “zero discussion” about attaching Park City to the name of the bid. Bullock explained the Olympic bid involves a series of communities in the region rather than just Salt Lake City and Park City. Places like Provo, Ogden and West Valley City would also host events, he said.
“In our case, we have many communities under the umbrella of Salt Lake City,” Bullock said, adding, “It’s not just two communities. It’s many.”
He noted the distances between Stockholm and Are as well as between Milan and Cortina are much greater than the approximately 30 miles between Salt Lake City and Park City.
Park City leaders and tourism boosters did not worry about the community’s ability to generate recognition from the Winter Olympics in 2002. The community was billed as the “Alpine Heart” of the Games, and large crowds of spectators and revelers descended on Park City for the Olympics. The tourism industry continues to capitalize on the Olympic history 17 years later.
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman, who is also a member of the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee, said he inquired early in the Olympic bid talks, perhaps 18 months ago, about listing Park City alongside Salt Lake City, but at the time there was not a precedent for doing so. He said there is a chance the topic could be broached again.
“It appears the IOC has changed their policy,” Beerman said, also explaining “so maybe we’ll revisit it.”
The mayor, though, also mentioned the other communities that are involved in the Olympic efforts, including Midway. He said the other places should not be slighted. Perhaps the bid could be called the “Utah Olympics,” he said.
“If we were going to break the mold, that’s the direction I would push in,” Beerman said.
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How on earth will the Park City Council candidates address the traffic situation? What will they pledge to accomplish regarding housing? And how well do they understand the impact of the consolidation and corporatization of the ski industry? The fall campaign could answer those questions.