OLYMPICS

Details of Utah’s bid for the 2034 Olympics formally submitted by governor, mayor

Feb 29, 2024, 5:13 PM | Updated: 6:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — “OK, ready, 1-2-3. There we go.”

In an instant, the key backers of Utah’s bid to host the 2034 Winter Games joined together to tap the submit button on a laptop in the ornate Gold Room of the state Capitol Thursday, sending thousands and thousands of pages of details about their hosting plans to the International Olympic Committee.

“This is a moment in time we’ll always remember, as a special time, to launch our bid for the Games and hopefully receive an award in just a few months from now,” Fraser Bullock, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said, thanking the members of the bid team, political leaders and young Olympic hopefuls gathered for the event.

While the IOC’s final decision on the site of the 2034 Olympics won’t come until July 24, the same day Utah celebrates Pioneer Day, turning in the massive submission required after Salt Lake City was named the “preferred host” in December marks a “monumental step” after more than a decade of bidding, Bullock said.

Gov. Spencer Cox expressed his pride in the aspiring athletes and the sports culture that has been built in Utah since the state hosted the 2002 Winter Games. The governor said he was able to review the submission at length, and believes it “would make Utahns proud.”

Tapping the send button

Key backers of Utah’s bid to host the 2034 Winter Games tap the submit button on a laptop in the ornate Gold Room of the state Capitol on Thursday. (Eddie Collins, KSL TV)

Cox joked that his wearing blue Team USA gear and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall dressing in bright red for the ceremony demonstrated the “spirit of bipartisanship” for bringing the Olympics back to the state. Deseret News-Hinckley Institute of Politics polling has shown more than 80% of Utahns support the bid.

Mendenhall said what sets Utah’s bid apart is that the state has maintained the competition venues used in 2002 for community and athlete use, including international competitions. Another Olympics, the mayor said, will be an opportunity to not “just host the world as we did in 2002, but in a new way that reflects the growth and progress of our community.”

The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games

Leadership for the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, including Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Utah Gov. Sencer Cox, are joined by young athletes in the official submission of Utah’s bid for the Salt Lake City-Utah 2034 Olympic Winter Games. (Eddie Collins, KSL TV)

The submission, which features a photo of young speedskaters on the ice at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, is made up of answers to a questionnaire, maps, graphics, tables, studies, reports, site plans and spreadsheets. It took more than 30,000 words — some 37,000 in the French translation — to answer just the questionnaire, bid lead Darren Hughes said.

The questionnaire asked about “fun stuff,” like the vision for the Games, Hughes said, but also required answers to “some less than fun stuff,” such as what measures would be taken against corruption and sports betting. Much of what was provided drilled down into details such as how many chairs and tents would be used, and the hire dates for every position, he said.

Olympic questionnaire

It took more than 30,000 words — some 37,000 in the French translation — to answer just the Olympic questionnaire. (Eddie Collins, KSL TV)

Still to come for the bid is submitting a series of required guarantees, due March 29. Those are the financial guarantees from federal, state and local governments that ensure the costs of the more than $2.45 billion event would be covered if the private funding from the sale of sponsorships, broadcast rights and tickets falls short.

Also on the list of needed guarantees is securing hotel rooms during the Games. The bid committee has locked up about 21,000 of the 24,000 rooms required, Hughes said, but expects to meet that requirement, along with signing a joint marketing agreement with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, before the deadline.

The IOC’s Future Host Commission, which is responsible for recommending where the Games should be held to the Switzerland-based organization’s leaders, is set to visit Utah April 9-13 to tour venues. The IOC Executive Board will decide in June whether the bid is ready to be voted on by the full membership, which meets in late July, just before the start of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

Salt Lake City host bumper sticker

(Eddie Collins, KSL TV)

Utah’s bid committee heard some words of encouragement during their virtual meeting on Thursday, from both the USOPC chairman, Gene Sykes, and a U.S. member of the IOC, Anita DeFrantz. Both said the IOC has plenty of good things to say about the bid.

“They’re not only satisfied, they’re thrilled to have a partnership with your team,” Sykes said, adding that the participation of political leaders in the bid is a “substantive” part of their confidence. DeFrantz said the bid was spoken of in “glowing terms” during her recent visit to the IOC’s Lausanne, Switzerland, headquarters.

The two top leaders of the Utah Legislature, Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and House Speaker Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, both took a break from the legislative session that ends Friday to participate in the submission send-off. Adams said Utah is going to be ready to “welcome the world like nobody ever has.”

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Details of Utah’s bid for the 2034 Olympics formally submitted by governor, mayor