SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A newly released study says Utah is “favorably positioned” to host another Winter Olympics providing insights that likely will be used to make a bid to the International Olympic Committee.
The study, conducted by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, used key factors of a successful Olympics event and measured Utah in the categories. Researchers investigated local support, demographic trends, and social and environmental factors.
These factors will likely play a “vital” part in Utah’s bid to the International Olympic Committee, according to the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games.
The results show a high level of support among Utahns with 82% in favor of hosting another Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in the state. This is favorable as garnering local government and public support has been a challenge for the Olympics in some places in the past, according to the IOC.
For social impact, the study touts Utah’s high levels of volunteering with 116 hours spent volunteering per person per year and 51% of Utahns actively volunteering yearly compared to 32% in the U.S. It also lists Utah’s “high levels of well-being as measured by physical health, active lifestyles, healthy behaviors, and access to recreational activities.”
The study emphasizes the environmental benefits of hosting the Olympic games in Utah, gearing toward the IOC’s focus on sustainability.
“A future Games will not require any Olympic-specific new construction projects, greatly reducing the environmental footprint,” the institute said in a press release.
As much of the infrastructure was maintained from the 2002 Games and airport and hotel improvements have already taken place in recent years, only minimal expansions will be required to host the Games in 2030.
In addition, many of the events in 2002 were hosted in the Park City, Deer Valley, and Snowbasin resorts. The report said those three resorts have since decided to “go green” by implementing energy and waste reduction policies and sustainable food sourcing. Park City also has the most “aggressive sustainability goals” in North America with plans to operate the city on 100% renewable electricity, according to the study.
In addition to social and environmental responsibility, the terrain itself has attracted national sports organizations and training athletes over the past two decades. Since 2002, the study says Utah has hosted over 50 international World Cup and World Championship events.
Researchers also found that 80 of the competing athletes in the 2022 Winter Games had ties to Utah, from native Utahns to athletes who had been trained or educated in the state.
All of these factors make Utah a “favorable” option for the 2030 or 2034 Olympic Games and provide data to help enhance Salt Lake City’s bid to the IOC.
Due to high costs, challenges of receiving local support, and reputational risk from ethical dilemmas, the IOC has changed its approach in electing host cities in recent years.
One of the new focuses is on sustainability, meaning they are focusing on using existing facilities rather than building new ones. This likely explains why the study placed emphasis on the environmental benefits of hosting another Game here in Utah.
The IOC’s deadline for the 2030 Olympics is July 2024, according to the Associated Press. The Associated Press also reported that Salt Lake City is likely targeting the 2034 Olympics.