Utah’s Olympic Oval among host sites for 2020 World Speedskating Championships

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-10 00:23:17-04

KEARNS, Utah - The International Skating Union announced Friday that the Olympic Skating Oval in Kearns, Utah will be one of the host sites for the 2020 World Speedskating Championships.

"It's a big deal," said Sara Bowles, a speed skating coach in Kearns. "The whole world is involved and will be coming to Salt Lake."

"The World Championships is the closest thing to the Olympics," said Sebastian Cano, an Olympic speedskater for Colombia who coaches and trains in Salt Lake City.

Cano is a short-distance sprint skater, and Bowles is a long track skater.

Kearns will host the long-track segment to the 2020 Championships. The skaters believe selecting the Olympic Oval is no mistake.

"It's the fastest ice and the best facilities in the world," Cano said.

The faciltiy in Kearns was built along with others for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the facilities have been kept up by the Olympic Legacy Foundation in the decade and a half since then.

It's a combination of those factors that could bring the 2026 Winter Olympics back to Salt Lake City.

"You can go in to places that have existing infrastructure or rebuild some instead of having to build everything from scratch," said Jeff Robbins with the Utah Sports Commission.

He points out that more and more future Olympic site considerations are locations that have already hosted the games in the past. Partly because of the high costs of building new structures.

However, Robbins says there's a number of reasons why Utah may not get the 2026 Winter Olympics bid. He points out that Los Angeles is up for a possible 2024 or a 2028 Summer Games bid, and he thinks it's unlikel the International Olympic Committee would grant another U.S. city a bid within two years of another U.S. city securing one.

Additionally, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada have pitched a joint proposal to host the 2026 World Cup in North America.

"I'm not sure there's ever been a country that's ever hosted the World Cup and the Olympics in the same year," Robbins added.

The IOC first met Friday to discuss 2026 Winter bids, but they won't make a final selection until 2019.