IOC have yet to engage Salt Lake City with “in-depth” Olympic bid conversations: USOPC CEO

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) remains early in the 2030 Olympic Winter Games bid process it seems, days after Brisbane was named the preferred candidate to host the Summer Games two years later in 2032.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah hosted venues for Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games (Wikipedia)

Salt Lake City was identified by the IOC in January 2020 as one of the three regions involved in a continuous dialogue to host a future Games and bid officials have said that they haven’t yet decided whether to target 2030 or 2034.

But United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) CEO Sarah Hirshland told following a Board of Directors meeting Wednesday “We have not yet been asked to participate in in-depth conversations with the IOC and we expect that that will happen when they are closer to being interested in voting for that particular decision.”

She added “They have not really come forward with any suggestions on who the 2030 and 2034 bid cities are or could potentially be.”

Bids from Sapporo in Japan and Pyrenees-Barcelona were also named by the IOC as potential candidates last year, but such announcements will no longer occur according to a new policy by the organization.

On Monday IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told that names of bidders involved in continuous dialogue will no longer be mentioned in order to avoid putting undue pressure on jurisdictions that are evaluating their options.

He said “My understanding is they are not to be named but in the broader context we said that those who wish to communicate about it themselves can do.”

“That is the change in emphasis to allow those involved in the process to decide if they wish to discuss or not.”

The Winter Games Future Host Commission chaired by Octavian Morariu made no announcement during the online IOC Session Wednesday when Commissions were due to report.  Kristin Kloster Aasen, who chairs the Summer version of the Commission, is expected to present Brisbane’s proposal as part of her report Thursday.

Lack of reporting in the new process launched by the IOC in 2019 has made it difficult to understand how close the IOC’s Future Host Commissions are to naming a preferred candidate.  The Brisbane announcement last month caught many off guard, including rivals already invested in the race.

IOC President Thomas Bach addresses IOC Session after his election to a second term March 10, 2021 (IOC Photo)

IOC President Thomas Bach addresses IOC Session after his election to a second term March 10, 2021 (IOC Photo)

IOC President Thomas Bach – who was elected to a second term Wednesday – pushed for a bid process that prevents bids from competing against each other and creating “losers” that may not want to return to the table for another bid.  In achieving that, the IOC has also lost all transparency in its decision-making.

When asked, Hirshland committed to a transparent campaign if Salt Lake City moves forward, she said “To the extent we know the information we certainly will be sharing that as transparently as we can that will somewhat be dependent on what we know about the process.”

“We won’t necessarily know the IOC’s thoughts or where we stand in the process but we will make known when we announce our candidacy when things are moving along.”

Typically the Winter Games host is elected seven years ahead of the opening ceremony but under new rules the IOC can choose a host any time.  Beijing is set to stage the Winter Games in 2022 followed by by Italy’s Milan-Cortina in 2026.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.