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Olympic Committee wants $15 million from Utah State Legislature

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 23:58:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Olympic Exploratory Committee is starting the work on making a run to bring the Winter Olympic Games back to Utah.

Last month, Salt Lake was chosen by the United State Olympic Committee to present a bid for future games to the International Olympic Committee.

“We look at things differently because we are now America’s choice to represent the United States to the world,” said committee co-chair, Fraser Bullock.

With the bid in its infancy stage, the committee is trying to drum up support from the community and state legislature.

They plan to ask the state lawmakers for $15 million for the Utah Sports Commission to use to bring more world-class sporting events to the area.

“It’s the seed money, the gap money,” said committee member and former Senate President Wayne Niederhauser.  “There isn’t any model in the world that has worked, that hasn’t taken a little bit of public money on occasion.”

This winter, Utah will host international competitions in biathlon and freestyle skiing.  The committee believes these events spotlight the state on the world stage and could increase Utah’s chances to be awarded the Olympics.

“In a big way, it is our brand.  It is something that the public supports and that means we are going to have to invest some time and money,” Niederhauser said.

The money would be used over the next 10 years.  Niederhauser believes the strong Utah economy makes this the perfect time to ask for a grant.

“The legislature has a lot of money to appropriate,” Niederhauser said.

This is one of the first steps in what will be a long process to bring the Winter Olympics to Utah in either 2030 or 2034.

“You are looking at a 2023 bid cycle,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.  “Which means we will have to do a lot of work starting next year to prepare for that bid.”