Organizers working to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games back to Salt Lake City unveiled its vision for a future Games during its latest board meeting, focusing on elevating the local communities, sport and the Games experience.
Within each focus point is subtopic interests. The three main topics are elevating communities by inspiring youth with Olympic and Paralympic values, accelerate sustainability and increase unity and inclusion; elevate sport for local communities, Team USA and international athletes coming to Utah; and elevate the Games experience for athletes, their families and spectators.
Early plans for the focus points include having local schools adopt countries ahead of the Games by learning its history, culture and more as one example. Organizers said a future Games would have one Athletes’ Village located at the University of Utah and have developed the idea of an athlete’s family village to provide affordable access to housing, transportation and tickets so they can see their children realize their dreams.
“We want to welcome families from all around the world,” said SLC 2030 Bid Chief Executive Officer Fraser Bullock, crediting Catherine Raney Norman, SLC-UT board chair, and Lindsey Vonn for the concept. “This is a new idea, we’ll have to work it out with the (University of Utah). It’s really taking advantage of existing infrastructure,” adding it could end up being budget neutral once put out to potential sponsors that would cover the costs.
The SLC-UT group has monthly meetings with the IOC and periodic meetings with the International Paralympic Committee while putting the final touches on its Preferred Host Submission bid file. Bullock said the bid file is 95 percent finished and will be submitted to the USOPC ahead of its September assembly, at which point the USOPC would officially endorse the submission.
The workshops the SLC-UT group has had with the IOC have focused on sustainability and legacy, technology, finance/budget, legal and marketing issues, ticketing and hospitality and governance issues. The bid file itself has 43 questions to address on a variety of issues plus 32 annexes including sustainability studies and financial information. There are also 23 sets of guarantees required including government guarantees, venue use agreements, accommodation guarantees — Salt Lake has 19,000 hotel rooms booked for either 2030 or 2034 with 162 hotels contracted — and marketing right guarantees.
“We’re very hopeful that this fall will yield additional positive momentum,” USOPC Board Chair Gene Sykes said during the strategic board meeting that was open to the public. “I don’t want to over speculate at this point, but I think this will be a very positive period for the Salt Lake City bid.”
The IOC’s next Executive Board meeting will be October 12-13, a few days before its official IOC Session in Mumbai where observers believe the organization would advance one or more bidders into targeted dialogue ahead of a potential dual award for both 2030 and 2034 at the 2024 IOC Session scheduled for July 23-24 in Paris ahead of the Summer Games. The October meetings is also when the IOC will discuss climate change and its impact on future Winter Games including a potential future host rotation.
The two main public bidders have been Salt Lake City and Stockholm after the Sweden Olympic and Paralympic Committees said it will study whether to bid for 2030. IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi in March said the organization continues to draw interest from around the world to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, while refusing to say from which regions the interest is being registered.
Sweden’s entry into the race to stage the 2030 Winter Games is what the IOC has wanted since it announced in December 2022 it would postpone choosing a 2030 Winter Games host and potentially do a double awarding for both 2030 and 2034 when the IOC meets before the start of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris. With the Summer Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles, the IOC has been wary of having the U.S. host back-to-back Games, making Sweden or any other surprise candidate attractive to the IOC.
“We’ll take either one,” said Bullock, adding SLC-UT continues to have 2034 as a preference but would host in 2030 if called upon. “There’s still many moving parts, but I expect we’ll know a tremendous amount more by the end of this year.”