The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) this week launched a domestic process to nominate a bid to host a future Olympic Winter Games.
Invitations to the process were sent to three cities that have previously expressed interest in the Games including Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno-Tahoe. The accelerated process, lasting less than two months, will begin immediately with the goal of choosing a winner by the end of the year, likely at the USOC’s next Board of Directors meeting in December.
According to the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition (RTWGC), the invitation includes a template to be used to collect detailed information about the bid. Responses must be submitted to the USOC by November 9.
The RTWGC said that the invitation did not specify which year the USOC was targeting to host the Games.
According to minutes published from the USOC’s September 21 Board of Directors meeting, the USOC has been considering two year options.
“[USOC Vice President Chris] Sullivan described ongoing discussions in this area with several interested US cities, and with the IOC. He provided insights on developments in the IOC host city bidding process overall and in connection with the 2026 and 2030 Games in particular.
“He described a potential approach to continuing to explore the possibility of putting together a US bid for one of these or another future Games, including by conducting a process by which the USOC might narrow to one the number of cities with whom it might cooperate to engage in any such bid.”
USOC Spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said in a statement to GamesBids.com Tuesday “This is simply the continuation of an ongoing process to select a city for a potential future Games bid.”
Media PSA on 2026 speculation – The USOC has expressed interest in bidding for future winter Games, but we are not involved in the 2026 campaign. Our current process is to identify a U.S. city is related to a future Games with multiple cities involved in those discussions.
— Patrick Sandusky (@patricksandusky) October 30, 2018
The USOC has denied that it is targeting the 2026 Games, or that it is currently involved in the process. The organization filed a letter with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in April indicating interest in bidding for the 2030 Games.
At the time, seven cities entered the 2026 Winter Games race, but now only three remain.
Calgary in Canada, Stockholm in Sweden and a joint project between Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy are in the race – but each face significant obstacles with doubts that they will still be in the running when the IOC elects a winner in June.
The IOC has set a January 11 deadline to receive bid book and guarantees. If those can’t be provided by a bid, it will be forced to withdraw from the race.
If no cities are left, the selected U.S. city could be considered as a backup option for the IOC. If not, the USOC could target 2030.
RTWGC Board Chairman Brian Krolicki told ABC News in Reno “This invitation is an affirmation of all the inspired time and effort contributed by so many over the past fifteen years to return the Olympic rings to our area.”
“We have always believed that the Reno-Tahoe region offers a very unique and exciting opportunity to welcome the world’s Olympic Community, especially its elite winter athletes, while creating long-lasting benefits for our communities.”
The coalition will consider the invitation but only forward a bid if it makes economic sense for the region.
Salt Lake City, with a wealth of existing venues built for the 2002 Games, is considered the strong favourite to win the nomination. A poll revealed the 89 percent of Utahns are behind the project that could cost USD $1.35 billion, and has the support of the State Governor.
“We thought we were going to be in limbo for a while. All of a sudden now we have an opportunity and we’re going for it,” Utah Senator Wayne Niederhauser told Deseret News.
“I don’t think the other cities can do what we can do in such a short time. That may be a little bit arrogant, but it’s just the facts.”
On Tuesday, members of the Salt Lake 2030 campaign met to discuss the “next step.”
Rob Cohen, Chief of Denver’s Olympic Exploratory Committee said that a bid from Colorado would require a state-wide vote some time after 2020. Denver infamously won the 1976 Games but had to give the event to Innsbruck after voters rejected a bond issue to cover the costs of the Games.
The 2030 host city will be elected by the IOC in 2023.