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SLC chosen for US Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid

The World Trade Center flag is presented by members of the New York Police and Fire Department at the Opening Ceremonies of the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games at Rice-Eccles Stadium Friday, February 8, 2002. SLC is now in the running to host the games again, if selected in an international bidding process. (Stuart Johnson/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The United States Olympic Committee has named Salt Lake City its choice for a future Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid, meaning Salt Lake City would represent the United States in a future international bidding process.

There were massive smiles on the faces of the state and city leaders after the announcement was made.

“On behalf of the State of Utah and our citizens, we appreciate the United States Olympic Committee’s confidence in our ability to host a future Olympic Winter Games,” said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. “Utah continues to utilize our existing, world class sports venues to host a significant number of major international sporting events and I can’t think of a better place to host the Games.”

Herbert says other cities all over the world are deciding to opt out of hosting the winter games, which is good news for Salt Lake.

“They’re spending billions of dollars just to host a Winter Olympics.  We’re not going to do that… we’re fiscally responsible, number one, and we already have the venues in place.  So, there will be some sprucing up, here and there.  Maybe, some modifications,” he adds.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and other local leaders reacted to the news in a news conference from her office shortly after the announcement.

“We are truly humbled to be the choice to represent the United States in a bid for a future Olympic Games,” said Biskupski. “This decision affirms Salt Lake City as the capital of winter sports in America, and the tremendous amount of work we have done to continue our Olympic legacy for future generations.”

She says the USOC didn’t give her a specific reason why Salt Lake stood out over Denver.  However, she says they alluded to a few things.

Biskupski says, “They certainly conveyed to us that we have really shown due diligence maintaining venues and hosting year-round Olympic events.”

 

So… what now?  The Winter Olympic bid process is reportedly very fluid, and it may seem low-key for now, but, things will get far more intense about two years before the winning city is announced.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to prepare for a bid,” according to Exploratory Committee Co-Chair Fraser Bullock, adding, “It’s very extensive, it’s very laid out.  There’s about two years of work in anticipation of the decision,” Bullock says.

Of course, if Salt Lake were to win their 2030 Winter Olympic bid, the committee may have to make some adjustments.

“We have outlined where we want all the sports to go, but, we recognize that some of those could move around because we have all these new sports, with Big Air, Slope Style, Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross.”

The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning city in 2023.