On Monday, Utah leaders announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a potential 2026 or 2030 Olympic Winter Games bid. The announcement comes just three days after the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) claimed that they would pursue a Winter Games for the U.S. and wanted to be part of any upcoming discussions.
Deseret News reported that Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski will launch the committee with three co-Chairs including Fraser Bullock, Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Utah Sports Commission President and CEO Jeff Robbins.
“It’s a very big step,” Bullock said.
The IOC “is very focused on utilizing host cities where existing venues are in place,” something that gives Salt Lake City, hosts of the 2002 edition of the Games, an advantage says Bullock.
“This allows more financial responsibility in hosting the Games. It reduces the risk.”
Reno-Tahoe and Denver have also indicated interest in bidding for the Games and the USOC said they would begin discussing the organization of a domestic selection process.
On Sunday Innsbruck voters rejected a bid from the Austrian city, a decision Bullock said shifted his focus from 2030 to 2026. Los Angeles has been selected to host the 2028 Olympic Games and Bullock says his committee fully supports those Games.
“We need to be open to all options at this point,” Bullock said.
If a U.S. city were awarded the 2026 Games, Los Angeles would be part of the negotiations.
Sion in Switzerland and Calgary in Canada are other potential bidders along with Almaty in Kazakhstan, Stockholm in Sweden and Sapporo in Japan.
The exploratory committee will be privately funded. A similar study to bid for the 2022 Winter Games found that hosting that year would cost about $1.7 billion.
The application deadline for the Games is March 31, 2018 with the final election scheduled for September 2019.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.