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Will Utah host the 2034 Winter Olympics? – Deseret News
Will Utah host the 2034 Winter Olympics? – Deseret News

Utah should easily clear the final hurdle to being named host of the 2034 Winter Olympics, a senior official of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said on Friday.

“We are extremely excited about this and believe the process will be seamless,” USOPC Chairman Gene Sykes told reporters during a press conference following the board meeting in Indianapolis. Last week, the International Olympic Committee’s board of directors put the bid to a final vote by the entire membership, which is scheduled to take place in Paris on July 24, Utah’s Pioneer Day.

Sykes said Utahns will have a lot to celebrate that day.

“We are very confident that the Board’s recommendation will prevail and that Salt Lake City-Utah 2034 will indeed be named the host city for the 2034 Games,” he said, adding that one can “expect a celebration that will take place in the wake of a great moment.”

The success of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, which is behind the bid, is considered a credit to the IOC.

“I’ll just tell you that the IOC thinks very highly of this team,” said Sykes, who is set to become an IOC member in July. “They have great confidence in their leadership. They have been exemplary in terms of the level and scope of their communication and the clarity of their objectives.”

Sykes, who joined the IOC’s Future Host Commission during its visit to Utah in April, said: “The level of local excitement, support and enthusiasm is remarkable.” He said this reassures the IOC “that they have great partners and people here in the United States that they can count on to really capitalize on this incredibly important franchise, the Winter Olympics.”

The Future Host Commission’s 95-page report was released on Friday. The commission’s “extremely compelling documentation” was cited last week by IOC President Thomas Bach after the IOC Executive Board sent Utah’s 2034 bid to a final vote without questions.

Bach emphasized the consistently strong public and political support in Utah for another Olympic Games, noting that such bipartisan support is unusual in the deeply divided United States. A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found that 79% of Utahns support hosting the 2034 Winter Olympics, with nearly half – 48% – expressing full support.

“All this made the decision very easy,” said the IOC President.

The commission report describes the bid committee’s plans for the 2034 Games as a “mature project” that is “inspired by the ambition to extend the transformative benefits of the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Games to a new generation.” It states: “A commitment to sport and a willingness to give back is deeply embedded in Utah’s DNA.”

The report has many parallels with the bid committee’s previously announced plans, including a vision for the Games that will strengthen community, winter sports and the event experience, use existing venues from 2002, and a privately funded budget of $2.83 billion, with the state again serving as a financial guarantor.

However, the report mentions several areas to keep an eye on going forward, such as the impact of plans for a downtown Salt Lake City entertainment district to be built around Utah’s new hockey team, which will play in a remodeled Delta Center. The Salt Palace, which could be remodeled, is not only the site of broadcast and media centers this time, but also a temporary facility for curling competitions.

The compatibility of the Utah legislature’s approval that the state assumes responsibility in the event of low revenue from the games with the IOC’s hosting contract, “particularly with regard to liability”, will also be monitored. Unlike in 2002, there is currently no cancellation insurance to mitigate risk, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a one-year postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Utah bidders celebrated Olympic Day on Friday with a bid committee meeting at Utah Olympic Park near Park City. What the IOC defines as a “global celebration of sport and physical activity” was launched in 1948 and is usually celebrated on June 23 to commemorate the day the organizer of the modern Games was founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.

By Isla