USOPC ‘prepared and ready’ to discuss Utah Olympic bid

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SALT LAKE CITY – FEBRUARY 23: A general view of downtown Salt Lake City at night during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics on February 23, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Brian Bahr)

(ABC4) – Salt Lake City is one step closer to becoming a second-time host of the Olympic Winter Games in 2030.

Suzanne Lyons, Chairperson of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Board of Directors, announced Saturday that the committee is “prepared and ready” to enter into discussion with the International Olympic Committee, IOC, about a Salt Lake City bid.

  • James "Jimmy" Shea

“We think Salt Lake City would be an outstanding candidate for winter games, and we want to welcome them back to the U.S. as soon as we can,” she said.

According to Lyons, there has not been any significant discussion at this point about bids for winter games past the next games, which will be held in Beijing, China in 2022.

“However, we are poised and ready. Salt Lake City is so excited and so supportive of the notion of having the winter games returned to the US, and we will probably be having some conversations as we are able to run across in a social distance way,” she explained. “Our various counterparts at the IOC, they’re very well aware of our readiness and our desire to bid.”

In addition to Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Canada, Sapporo in Japan, and Barcelona in Spain are potentially in the running as locations for the Winter Olympic Games.

Catherine Raney Norman, Chair of the Salt Lake City Utah Committee for the Games and Olympic speed skater, told ABC4.com in late June that she is optimistic about the games returning to Utah, calling it a matter of when the games will return, not if.

“Utah is incredibly well positioned because we have our facilities, because we’ve continued on with our legacy through our programming. We are very sport friendly: summer sports, winter sports, non traditional sports,” she said. “I really believe that it is a matter of when and not if. We are just making sure to do our due diligence to be prepared for that moment.”

According to Raney Norman, there are multiple factors that make Utah the perfect location for a future Olympic Games.

“2002 just represented this amazing games, and we have these incredible facilities. We have a community that embraces Olympic and Paralympic sports. We have government leaders who embrace this, and so it really is kind of this almost perfect storm here in Utah to move forward with hopefully a return of another games,” she explained.

“One of the things that is always advantageous for athletes and especially for somebody like myself that was a distance athlete is, Utah has that benefit of high altitude, which is a fit for for distance athletes, so now you’ve got world class facilities. You’ve got environmental conditions that are conducive to performance, and really, you have all those other wraparound services and partnerships. It really is an ideal location for us,” she added.

The committee has raised 1.5 million for the Olympic bid through private funding and has an approved budget of $3.8 million.

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