The facilities prepared for the 2002 Salt Lake City games are in excellent condition, and ready to host the 2026 Olympic Games, say Utah officials. The United States Committee hasn’t decided yet where the event will be held. At the moment, it is focused on the top choices for an American bid on the 2024 summer games. Even if Utah faces long odds (especially since the eastern Juggernaut, Colorado, is also pursuing the bid) it has decided to prepare for the Olympic games anyway.
Fraser Bullock, former chief operating officer of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, declared that their facilities have a great advantage: nothing needs to be re-made from scratch. In preparing for the Olympic Games, Salt Lake City facilities can be updated without enormous costs.
The term legacy is often used to describe Utah and its continued presence in outdoor recreation, specifically when it comes to those involved in and passionate about winter sports.
Utah residents and officials are extremely excited at the opportunity of holding the 2026 Olympic Games, especially since the ones in 2002 managed to put the state on the map. It’s been 12 years since the games happened, and the torch still stands outside the Rice-Eccles Stadium. Since then, Utah has continued to groom worthy Olympians that won gold and silver medals (examples: Sarah Hendrickson, Ted Ligety, Sage Kotsenburg etc.).
The Waiting Game
According to Tiger Shaw, CEO of United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA), it is only a matter of time until children decide to pursue a career in winter sports when growing up in this environment. But let’s get back to the 2026 Olympic Games. In December 2012, the state started working on a plan to bid for the games. It assumed that the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) would be endorsing a city. In order to successfully host the Olympic Games, two conditions must be met. First of all, the city making a bid must receive approval from the USOC beforehand. Secondly, it requires IOC (International Olympic Committee) votes to actually be able to host the event.
The problem is that USOC decided not to bid on the 2022, and go for the Summer Games of 2024 instead. After a yearlong evaluation, the USOC team managed to create a list of 30 cities that would make viable candidates. In the end, the list was narrowed down to six. In order to bid on the 2026 games, Utah must meet several conditions. First of all, USOC must give them the green light, should the 2024 bids falter (the decision for the 2024 games will be handed down in 2017, so there is plenty of time to find out what will happen with the Winter games).
Can Utah Hold the Olympic Games?
If everything goes according to plan, Salt Lake City might just be the one to host the much anticipated event. According to Utah officials, almost every required infrastructure is in place. Most of them are still running and hosting world-class competitions Mayor Ralph Becker from Salt Lake City says that every facility has been maintained and kept in use. The state could save millions of dollars if the Olympic Games would be hosted here.
The only real competition for Salt Lake City is Colorado, which has twice the population thrice the skier capacity, incredible infrastructure, large mass transit capabilities and a world-class airport.