SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker announced that Salt Lake City and the State of Utah will make a bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics on Monday.
During a news conference held at the base of the 2002 Olympic torch outside Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus, Herbert and Becker said Utah is, "ready, willing, and able" to host another Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Herbert said the decision came after the two reviewed a 36-page report from the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee (UOEC), which recommended Salt Lake City and Utah pursue a bid with the US Olympic Committee (USOC).
The USOC is in the process of deciding whether to pursue a Summer 2024 or a Winter 2026 Olympics.
The 2002 games were considered to be a smashing success creating $5 billion dollars in economic opportunity for Utah.
State officials want another turn to be in the world's spotlight.
Another run at the Winter Games has a lot of Utahns excited.
The 2002 Winter Olympics helped establish Salt lake City as a world wide destination, boosting tourism and branding the city as one of the top winter sporting venues in the world.
But can utah build on the momentum built up from 2002 with venues already in place?
The TRAX system is larger than ever, connecting everything from Ogden to Provo.
It's expected that Salt Lake City will have a new international airport by 2026.
Eric Kuntz of Saratoga Springs has his doubts.
"I don't suspect it will happen," said Kuntz. "I think it's a stretch to get them back so quick."
Governor Herbert disagrees, saying Utah is the best place in the world to host the 2026 Games, touting the state as the most cost effective, commuter friendly, accommodating place in the world.
Regardless of Herbert's optimism, Utah is several steps away from snagging another Winter Olympics.
First, the USOC must choose Salt Lake City over other competitive U.S. cities.
Then, the IOC must choose Salt Lake City over other equally qualified world venues.
One other little detail is the cost of the bid alone, which should run somewhere around $1 million to apply with the USOC, and another $25 million to apply with the IOC.
Even with the hefty bid price tag, Herbert said the bid committee won't spend a dime of tax dollars for the process.