New SLC Mayor In Favor Of Hosting Another Olympics

Feb 20, 2020, 8:40 PM | Updated: 8:53 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Newly-elected Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she fully supports bringing the Olympic Games back to Utah and a future announcement could come during her first term in office.

“The Olympics are just in our DNA here in Salt Lake City. We’ve been building in a way that would support a future winter bid,” she said. “We want the Games to come back.”

Inside Mendenhall’s office, you can find a bunch of 2002 Salt Lake Olympic pins behind glass displays.

Who can forget the green Jell-O one? Or the fry sauce pin? What about the missionaries on bicycles?

For many people, these pins bring back a lot of good memories.

A fry sauce pin from the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games.

“It was just such a vibrancy. So alive,” Mendenhall said.

Talking about that time makes her smile and she said it’s hard to believe that was 18 years ago.

“I was living in the lower Avenues. I was a newlywed and we would walk down just to feel the energy and see the different people,” she said. “Sometimes we would go to the different parties of the different host countries.”

Mendenhall took office just last month and walks by the pin displays almost every day, including a 2002 Olympic flag and other Olympics-related memorabilia in the hallway.

A flag from the 2002 Games is on display inside the Salt Lake City County Building.

Those items have been on display for several years, and you can’t blame Mendenhall for hoping to one day see some new Olympics items lining the halls.

2002 Olympic Legacy

Many people look at the 2002 Olympics as the turning point for when Utah’s popularity began to skyrocket.

Others will agree the Games were good for Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, bringing in mass transit, a wider Interstate 15 and new buildings to the valley.

“I think people were excited to be in Salt Lake City in 2002 and the cool part is we’ve just grown more in so many ways since then,” Mendenhall said.

She also felt another Olympics could be even more beneficial to the area, especially with issues Utah didn’t really have back then.

“Affordable housing is something that has come in a bigger way,” Mendenhall said during an interview with KSL TV’s Alex Cabrero. “Any additional housing that would come online with the Games, we would love to see that turned into affordable housing after the Games.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall talks with KSL TV Olympic Insider Alex Cabrero about a future SLC Olympic bid.

Air quality, traffic and financial viability are other concerns for any future Games.

Those are issues that will need to be addressed.

The big question, though, is 2030, 2034 or later?

If it’s 2030, the International Olympic Committee traditionally awards an Olympics seven years in advance.

That would mean a 2023 announcement, which would fall during Mendenhall’s first term in office.

Whenever it is, Mendenhall feels Salt Lake City should host again.

Not only would it be a way to once again welcome the world, but she feels Utah can do it about as well as anyone else.

“When it comes to the facilities, in particular, we still have all of ours and maintain them. They’re thriving,” she said. “And there’s nothing like hosting the world for a party in your city over a couple of weeks-time and watching world-class athletes compete.”

Of course, another party would include new pins.

“I hope we get to do it again,” she said with a smile.

KSL 5 TV Live

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New SLC Mayor In Favor Of Hosting Another Olympics