Salt Lake City prepares for Olympics Future Host Commission visit

Mar 11, 2024, 6:39 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 7:24 am

SALT LAKE CITY — As part of the final steps for Utah to secure the bid to host the 2034 games, a key group of Olympic officials will visit Salt Lake City next month.

The Olympics Future Host Commission is made up of nine members from across the world who will be in Utah from April 9-13. The commission will take a deep dive into Salt Lake’s proposal for the games.

In short, its job will be to recommend whether the International Olympic Committee issues the bid to Salt Lake.

That report is due in June ahead of a bid that could come later this year. Today, members of the media got a debrief on the plans for the visit.

“We know in Salt Lake City, Utah, we have experienced partners with great expertise and that Utah benefits from a wealth of well-maintained venues with great delivery experience that could facilitate Olympic planning and delivery,” said Jacqueline Barrett, director of the Future Olympic Games Hosts.

Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, also joined the call. He had plenty of positive things to say about Salt Lake’s potential bid.

“The Olympics from 2002 have visited different countries, continents. They’ve all been exciting. But to be back in Salt Lake is certainly a fabulous prospect,” he said as he opened the meeting.

During the five-day visit to Utah, the commission will tour several of Utah’s planned venues. Those include the city venues which will be home to curling, ice hockey, figure skating and speedskating. Plus, they’ll visit the sites of the Olympic Village, big air medals plaza and the international and main press center.

They’ll also tour mountain venues for Alpine skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, biathlon, Nordic combined and cross-country skiing.

What about the yet-to-be-built stadiums for NHL and MLB?

As Utah is in the process of reimagining downtown Salt Lake and trying to lure professional sports teams to Utah, Olympic leaders were asked whether proposed stadiums for NHL and MLB could be used as Olympic venues.

In short, IOC leaders say that if they are built it’s possible, but that they are not part of the current bid.

“We want to make sure at the time of the election we have a good solution for each sport in each discipline, keeping our minds open for the future,” Barrett said.

Dubi was even more direct.

“We will be opportunistic and flexible if these venues do make sense because they have been built in the meantime, great. If it can be used by the organizing committee, even better. But let’s not create the link between investment in these venues and their necessity for the Olympic Games,” Dubi said.

What will life look like in 2034?

Looking more broadly, the commission will also be tasked with assessing the legacy and sustainability of another Olympics in Utah.

And as the committee visits, they will also try to think long-term. With the emergence of AI technology, Barrett and Dubai said they’ll need to assess what will life and sports could look like in 2034.

“(Sports like hockey) will be even more athletic, faster and be more technical,” he said.

“Now, the one global thing that will influence sport and winter in particular is the is the climate. And we all have to look for solutions,” Dubi said.

Still, Olympic leaders on Monday signaled their confidence that another Salt Lake Games can succeed.

“I really like this feeling you know, to go back to some of the greatest experts they’ve been there, done that. They’ve been successful. They know their recipe,” Dubi said.

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Salt Lake City prepares for Olympics Future Host Commission visit