Will Salt Lake need new Olympic venues? The organizers speak out



The group will meet with the IOC in Europe in November to get more details on the 2030 bid dates versus 2034

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Fireworks explode over Rice-Eccles Stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Organizers of the group seeking to bring the Olympics back to 2030 or 2034 claim that improvements such as the expansion of the Rice-Eccles Stadium which was completed this year put Salt Lake in good condition.

Salt Lake City can host a second edition of the Winter Olympics without building new venues, organizers said on Tuesday.

About 30 events have been added to the Winter Games program since they last came to Utah in 2002, including boardercross and slopestyle. Still, Fraser Bullock, chair of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said they can all be contained in pre-existing venues and sites. Bullock addressed the issue at a press conference following a meeting of the local organizing committee.

“We are in the privileged position of all the sites in place. And even though there are 40% new events, we can fit them into our existing infrastructure, which is just amazing, ”Bullock said. “And in fact, many of our sites, especially the non-competitive sites, have taken a leap forward.”

Bullock pointed to the new airport as well as upgrades to the University of Utah dormitories, which served as the athletes‘ village in 2002, and the recent expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium, the site of the opening ceremonies and Closing.

However, some sites may require significant upgrades before they are ready to host again. In fact, the committee reported that almost all competition buildings – such as the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, and the ice cap in Ogden – will require substantial work if the Games are Salt Lake City will not be held by 2030. This is the next year available for the Winter Olympics.

In addition, some of the outdoor sites could be affected by climate change.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Fraser Bullock, the former SLOC leader in 2002, who is now chair of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, with some of his Olympic memorabilia at his home in Alpine on Friday 5 July, 2019.

The United States Olympic Committee has yet to formally submit a bid to host future Olympic Winter Games. Three years ago, he named Salt Lake as his next host site, and local organizers have spent time since developing budgets and contracts for 2030 and 2034.

Although they also did not officially submit bids, Sapporo, Japan; Vancouver, British Columbia; and the Barcelona-Pyrenees region have all expressed interest in hosting the 2030 Games. Ukraine has also recently opened a dialogue with the IOC on accommodation and is expected to pursue a bid for 2034.

Bullock said his preference would be to bid for 2030 because “I’m not getting any younger.” He noted, however, that the decision depends on the viability of hosting an Olympics in Utah two years after the Summer Games are held in Los Angeles in 2028.

“We’re going through this process, but we have to balance our passion for previous games with the reality of hosting back-to-back games,” Bullock said. “And it has to be done very, very carefully. “

The USOPC and the local organizing committee may soon get more details on the best Games to bid for. Officers from both committees will travel to Europe to meet with the IOC the week of November 29. Bullock said he expects to present his group’s work to date to the IOC and looks forward to receiving feedback.

The committee secured almost all of the 24,000 hotel rooms and accommodations required and awarded contracts to the sites. Bullock said he hopes both of these items will be closed by the end of the year.

He would also like the USOPC to make a one-year decision by then, he said. But CEO Sarah Hirshland said last month that the USOPC will only announce a date “when it seems appropriate and we are confident we have the right collective decision on the schedule.”

Bullock noted that in the traditional bidding process, which the IOC changed in 2018, venues were awarded seven years before the Olympics. So with eight years left to go to the 2030 Games, he doesn’t feel the lack of time.

And whenever Salt Lake is chosen to host, it will be ready.

“In all respects we are stronger, we are even more prepared,” he said. “All the competition venues are there. We have everything we need.

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