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Community, leaders debate pros and cons of Winter Olympics bid

Posted at 11:52 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 13:52:48-05

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City and Summit County leaders held an important meeting Tuesday regarding the potential of hosting the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics in the area.

The idea is moving ahead full steam, with the bid to the International Olympic Committee hopefully being completed within the next few months.

But Tuesday's meeting was about more than updating progress, it was about coming together with area leaders to discuss issues, concerns, and hopes for another winter games.

Back in 2002, the landscape of Park City and Summit County changed as a whole, turning the part of the state into more of an international destination for tourists. But now, with some tourist fatigue in the area and other issues regarding infrastructure, the needs of a 2030 games would be completely different.

“Our elevator pitch is a little different” Summit County council member Malena Steven said Tuesday, adding “our needs have changed and shifted, and for our community, like the rest of you, that's transportation and affordable housing sustainability.”

So this Olympic games would be far more about cementing the legacy of Utah as a winter sports center than building a destination for the international community.

“Seventy-five members of Team USA call you, too, home, and that is such a celebration of success and inspiration for our community.” said Fraser Bullock, president of the current bid.

The last games left behind $76 million, which helps continue to support and operate training programs for Olympians in the community; but a new games would leave behind $300 million to permanently solidify that legacy.

The meeting went over its allotted time, with the conversation continuing for over two hours.

Right now, an Olympics return to Utah is a strong possibility, although other locations have also expressed interest. Kiev, Barcelona, Sapporo, and Vancouver are said to be intrigued, but Salt Lake City is the only possible host that has a pending bid that is close to being ready,

Bullock updated events from last week in which several people had their first meeting with the IOC and discussed timelines for submitting an official Salt Lake City bid, adding that Governor Spencer Cox was “a rockstar.”

There are still challenges for a local bid as the 2028 Summer Olympics will be held close by in Los Angeles, which could pose a conflict having back-to-back games in the United States. However, Bullock assures that they are aware of the issue and are addressing it.

As a final part of crafting a bid, it’s community input and ideas that will push it over the edge.

“We're at full-time where we're putting our bid together, but we're engaging with the communities to understand how our bid needs to reflect their needs.” Bullock said. “This first step was very important to us.”