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Another Utah Olympics? State and Salt Lake City leaders take steps to bid for another winter games

FILE: Governor Gary Herbert speaking at a February press conference announcing the formation of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. (Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – Hoping to bring the world back for another Utah Olympics.  Governor Gary Herbert and Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall are announcing the committee hoping to secure another Winter Olympiad, here.

We’ve heard that Utah has “the fastest ice on earth,” but how is ice here any different than in any other state?  Speed skater Catherine Raney Norman says the Utah’s altitude and air pressure make a big difference.

“Air pressure is a wonderful thing for speed skaters.  It makes you go faster,” she says.

Plus, Norman says the Oval has fantastic “ice meisters” that keep the ice at the perfect temperature for breaking records.  Those are just some of the reasons she believes athletes would jump at the chance to compete for gold in Salt Lake City, again.

According to Norman, the Olympic spirit never died, here.

She says, “I was driving down 100 South [Tuesday] and I saw somebody wearing an ’02 volunteer jacket.  We just live and breathe that Olympic and Paralympic spirit.”

Governor Gary Herbert says the state is still feeling the benefits of the 2002 Winter Olympiad.  He says businesses from all over the country are moving into Utah after the city was able to show it could host events on the world stage.  He believes the chances of Salt Lake winning another games are quite good, since the venues are still in working order and people here speak over 100 languages.

There had already been an informal group working with the US Olympic Committee to convince them to select Salt Lake as the next American city to host the winter games.  The committee announced at the Utah State Capitol on Wednesday is the group that will formally make a bid to the International Olympic Committee for the 2030 or 2034 games.  Committee President Fraser Bullock says the bidding process is extremely different now compare to when the city won the 2002 games.

“Before, they would award the games seven years in advance in a competitive process.  Now, it’s a partnership.  It’s a dialogue.  So, 2030 could be awarded at any time.  Also, 2034 at any time.  It’s very different.”

However, there could be a speed bump in getting the 2030 games.  Bullock says Los Angeles is hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics, and there’s some concern about whether the IOC would want the same country to host two Olympics, back to back.

Bullock says, “We support LA 100 percent.  That is the top priority.  Anything we do has to be added to this.”

Lawmakers on the Hill say there is bipartisan support in bidding for another winter games in Utah.


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