— Published 30 November 2021

Salt Lake City goes virtual

The health crisis is upsetting the plans of Salt Lake City’s bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Americans were initially scheduled to visit the IOC headquarters in Lausanne earlier this week as part of the dialogue phase established by the Olympic body. Their trip to Switzerland was initially delayed by a week, starting on 6 December, as not all the planned participants were available on the original dates. It has now been transformed into a distance exchange, in virtual mode. The reason for this is the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is causing new travel restrictions around the world. According to the Utah press, the visit to Lausanne could take place after the 2002 Beijing Winter Games. The whole world is wondering about the COVID wave and the Omicron variant, so caution is advised,” Fraser Bullock, one of the project’s sponsors, told the Deseret News. In today’s virtual world, we can accomplish a lot of what we’d like to do remotely, although the in-person relationship is still very important.” The meeting scheduled for this week, then postponed until next month, could prove decisive in Salt Lake City’s choice between a bid for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Games. The first option, initially the strongest, presents a major obstacle: commercial competition with the Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2028. If the US project is postponed to the 2034 Winter Games, Sapporo would be the clear favourite for the 2030 Games.