— Published 25 May 2023

Salt Lake City ramps up for Winter Games

Has the mass already been said? Not yet. But Salt Lake City’s bid for the Winter Games has moved forward with a new piece this week in its plan to bring the Olympic and Paralympic event to Utah. Unlike Sapporo, which is still on pause, it is moving forward. But it is doing so in two different directions.

The Salt Lake City and Utah Bid Committee (SLC-UT) met on Wednesday 24 May for a strategic discussion. At the end of the discussion, its president and CEO, Fraser Bullock, assured the media: “We are ahead of schedule. We are almost ready.

At this stage of the campaign, the Americans are indeed burning up the stages. Fraser Bullock explained that his team was 90% complete with the questionnaire sent by the IOC to the cities that had entered the dialogue phase. The 40-page document contains 43 questions, covering all aspects of the Games and the project.

According to the new rules of the host city selection procedure, the questionnaire must be completed and submitted to the IOC in the final phase, after the Olympic body has chosen a “preferred candidate“. Salt Lake City is not there yet. The other applicants still in the running, including the Swiss and the Swedish, are not there yet either.

Why the rush? Easy answer. By taking the lead, the Americans are going along with the IOC. They are leaving it the choice of designating them for 2030 or 2034. They are offering them two options. A gesture that should be greatly appreciated in Lausanne, where the awarding of the Winter Games in 2030 has not been a smooth ride.

Fraser Bullock makes no secret of the fact that Salt Lake City would prefer to host the Games in 2034. “In such a scenario, we would not have to face the challenge of hosting two consecutive Games in the United States, summer in Los Angeles and winter in Salt Lake City,” he explained. “Certainly we could host the Games in 2030. But it would be more difficult to have two editions so close together.”

What happens next is already very clear. At least on the American side. The Salt Lake City team has announced that it will submit the answers to the IOC questionnaire next month to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). The national body will have the whole summer to analyse it, before validating it and giving it its seal of approval at the meeting of its Board of Directors scheduled for September.

Once this stage has been completed, the American bid can wait without anxiety for the IOC to continue the host city selection procedure. The Olympic body is expected to announce the name of the city invited to continue the dialogue as “preferred candidate” at its Executive Board meeting at the end of November. The award of the 2030 Winter Games will then be made official at the IOC Session on the sidelines of the Paris 2024 Games on 23 or 24 July.

“Question: will the IOC choose to hold a double vote for the second time, but the first for the Winter Games? In Salt Lake City, this scenario has not been ruled out. In fact, it is even mentioned as a real possibility. Fraser Bullock agreed this week: “The option of a double award would obviously be very important to us.”

The single award of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games would be made at the IOC session at the Paris 2024 Games. But it would be discussed, or even voted on, as early as October 2023 in Mumbai, India, where the full Olympic body is due to meet for its next session.

The Americans have made no secret of the fact that confidence is in their camp. “Our bid is strong,” says Fraser Bullock. “We’re extremely confident that we’ll get the Games in 2030 or 2034.

At a time when their presumed rivals, the Swedish and Swiss, are still debating whether or not to go all out, the Utah project’s proponents claim to have agreements in place for 75% of the competition venues. They point to a steadily rising rate of public support, measured at 82% in a recent opinion poll.

The bid committee also announced that its official website would be online by mid-June.