Grassroots social media effort boosts Salt Lake bid for future Olympics
As the world descends on South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Salt Lake City is looking ahead, declaring it is ready, willing and able to land a second winter games in Utah. Board members from Utah’s Olympic Exploratory Committee will go to South Korea next week to kick-start the process.
Salt Lake City is aiming for the Winter Olympics in 2030, but Utah’s Olympic leaders will also talk to the United States Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee while in Korea about hosting the Winter Games in 2026.
Exploratory Committee Co-chair Fraser Bullock said a completed feasibility report gives the Salt Lake City region plenty of clout in those meetings for a potential bid.
“That’s a real bid,” said Bullock, referring to the 140-page report. “That’s a real city that we can have tremendous confidence in.”
Excitement is growing in the public as well, with a social media grassroots effort.
“I really didn’t have the Olympic experience that I’d like to have,” said Austin Schofield, who missed most of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games because he was only eight years old.
He agrees with the nearly 90 percent of Utahns surveyed in a poll that was commissioned for the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee last November.
“The Olympics are just fun,” Schofield said. “To have them in your backyard and to be able to see athletes up close, and things like that, is something that’s just fun.”
Schofield is spear-heading a grassroots social media campaign, @slc20262030, which supports a Salt Lake bid for future Olympics. In just the past two months, his campaign has gone from 4,000 followers to 8,500. He believes support from the people will make a difference with the USOC and the IOC.
Schofield said he wants the United States Olympic committee and the International Olympic Committee to know there is local support for the Winter Games in Utah.
That’s not necessarily the case in other potential host cities, some of which have voted down host city proposals.
“There’s no better place in the world,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “The [feasibility] report affirms what we always kind of believed, that we are in a great, tremendous position to host the Winter Olympics again.“
The governor signed a resolution Wednesday, declaring Utah is ready to host the games again, and will pursue a bid for 2030.
Gov. Herbert said the secret to Utah’s success in 2002 was its people. Thousands of Utahns volunteered, solved problems and made it a great event, he said.
“You have to be incredibly efficient, you have to watch every penny,” said Bullock.
With venues in place, and only in need of a refresh, the feasibility report released Wednesday shows the Winter Games would not create a burden for Utah taxpayers. The report shows a $6 billion economic impact for our state from the 2002 Games.
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