SLC will pursue 2026 Winter Olympics

Posted at 11:16 AM, Dec 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-04 00:17:52-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gov. Gary Herbert announced Monday that Salt Lake City will pursue a 2026 Winter Olympics bid.

"I'm excited and optimistic for the great state of Utah and Salt Lake City and the people of Utah to once again say we are ready, willing and able to host the Winter Games here in the great state of Utah," Gov. Herbert said.

The next step in the process rests on the United States Olympic Committee. They also needs to decide if they will pursue a bid to host the Olympics in 2026. Gov. Herbert said they are indications that the committee is considering such action.

According to Gov. Herbert, 74 percent of Utahns polled support a return of the Winter Games to the state.

The Olympic Exploratory Committee was formed in February to assess considerations such as public opinion, transportation availability, hotel accommodation and sporting venues.

The committee says that Salt Lake City has the infrastructure in place after the 2002 Winter Olympics and that the financial benefits are too good to pass up. They recommend Salt Lake City place a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

Steve Price, with the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee, said Salt Lake City is more prepared for other potential cities because of the improvements being made to the Salt Lake City International Airport and the state's highways.

"There was no burden on the taxpayers for the last Olympics, so the money that was borrowed from the state of Utah was all paid back, 100 percent of it," Price said. "For future Olympics, we are more well prepared, for example, than other potential cities because we have facilities that are in place."

The 2002 Olympic Games brought $4.8 billion into Utah’s economy and an additional $1 billion to Olympic venues in the decade that has followed the games.