SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the Beehive State is more than ready to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games, celebrating the public support to bring the games back.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Mendenhall said more than 80% of Utahns want to bring the Winter Games back to the state, saying the support is “truly unmatched.” Meanwhile, Gov. Cox said elected leadership is 100% behind reviving the Olympic games.
“The Olympic and Paralympics are truly in the heart and the soul and the DNA of Salt Lake City,” said Mendenhall. “We are exceptionally prepared to host another Olympic and Paralympic games.”
Indeed, Utah may be one of the more prepared among the bidding parties. Utah’s 2002 Olympic venues have been well-kept and well-maintained, through money appropriated from the 2002 Olympics. Many of the venues, whether at Utah’s many ski resorts or university campuses, are still in use today.
“We know that we have the infrastructure to do it. We already have the facilities,” said Cox. In terms of cost, Cox also praised Utah’s volunteerism, saying there is “an army” of volunteers that will help bring down the overall cost of hosting the games.
“Knowing that we have an army of people who are willing to give up their time and their energy to make this happen, which will save the state money, which will make it economically viable and possible, makes this so much more important,” said Cox. “That brings the unifying effect.”
In the next steps to bring the Olympic Games to Utah, the state’s Olympic delegation, including Gov. Cox and Mayor Mendenhall, will meet with the Games’ Future Host Commission to present an updated version of their plan on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
President and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games Fraser Bullock said Utah is in a good position, thanks in part to the backing of Utah’s elected leaders.
“We have 100% of our federal guarantees and state guarantees – thanks to President [Stuart] Adams and Speaker [Brad] Wilson and Governor Cox. All the venue communities have signed up,” said Bullock. “That shows unity and strength and enthusiasm to host the games.”
After the Nov. 21 meeting, the Future Host Commission will report to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board, which will meet on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to discuss proposals. Bullock said at that point, they hope to get an invitation to present and discuss a deep review and contract negotiations to host a specific edition of the Olympic Games.
Bullock said nothing is guaranteed and there is still plenty of work to do before Utah can celebrate the games. But with the IOC Executive Board considering a dual award for the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic Games, Utah leadership remains hopeful and optimistic.
“I can’t wait to have those games here,” said Cox. “To see our hearts and minds knit together in a positive way as we compete in the right ways, bringing not just Americans, not just Utahns, but citizens of every country all across the world coming together to celebrate sport and the power of competition. “