USOPC says “tremendous progress” has been made towards hosting Salt Lake City Winter Olympics as early as 2030

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said Friday that they have made “tremendous progress” towards hosting the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City as early as 2030.  The announcement came after Friday’s Board of Directors meeting held in the hopeful host city.

The USOC tours the Utah Olympic Oval with members of the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games Bid (Twitter/SLC2030)
The USOC tours the Utah Olympic Oval with members of the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games Bid in 2018 (Twitter/SLC2030)

USOPC CEO Susanne Lyons said her team is “deeply in the first and second phases” of the IOC’s new Olympic bid process – the expression of interest and the continuous dialogue – and that her team is putting all efforts into understanding the feasibility of seeking the 2030 Games.

But the United States has already committed to hosting the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games, and staging the Winter edition in the same nation only 18 months later could be a strain on revenue streams for both events, limiting overall opportunities.  LA 2028 has been engaged in negotiations with the USOPC and SLC-UT to determine the best course forward.

“We are probably in contact with both Salt Lake City and LA 28 every day, multiple times a day,” Lyons told the media during a call following Friday’s meeting.

“I would say that [LA 28] are very much willing to work very, very closely with all of us to see if we can find that path.  Can we make it work financially and logistically, so that we can be in a position to host both of those Games.”

But ultimately, “The decision to go forward for the search to host a Games really rests with the USOPC. However, this is 100% a partnership,” Lyons said.

“So they don’t, in effect, have veto power, but they are very much an interested party and one we would always want to have at the table.

“This would be the first time that a country has tried to put on two Games back-to-back.  It’s quite complicated from a commercial and logistical point of view.

“If we can make it work for 2030 on all levels I think no one would be happier than all of us.”

The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games (SLC-UT) held an online meeting with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Future Host Commission last month and met further virtually with IOC staff early this month when in-person plans were cancelled due to the recent emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Last week IOC President Thomas Bach spoke highly of his time spent on the call with SLC-UT, he said “there was this great unity between the city and the Governor and the USOPC President Susanne Lyons.”

SLC-UT plans to send a small high-level delegation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Games in February as part of the IOC observers program and to visit IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland in the Spring.

On Monday SLC-UT announced a projected organizing budget of USD $2.2 billion calculated in 2030 dollars, another hint that hosting in 2034 is only a backup plan.  The budget includes $200 million contingency and a $250 million legacy fund to perpetuate sports in Utah.

Credible bids have emerged from Sapporo in Japan and Vancouver in Canada, and Ukraine has also indicated interest in staging a future Winter Games.

There is no set timeline for the IOC’s selection of future host cities.  Under new IOC rules, interested cities engage the IOC in a continuous dialogue until a suitable partner is found.

The USOPC said they hope to choose either 2030 or 2034 as the bid’s target year following the Beijing Games.

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.

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