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Still no clear path for Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics bid after trip to Switzerland

A high-profile trip to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, on the scenic shores of Lake Geneva, confirmed to the Salt Lake City Olympic Bid Team on Wednesday that its Winter Games project was on track. right way. But the questions remain – which track?

Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland (Photo IOC)

The influential delegation led by Bid President and CEO Fraser Bullock filled the spotlight with Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn, who agreed to chair the athlete experience, and the team joined technical experts and IOC President Thomas Bach for a single day of meetings.

Bid chair and Olympic speed skater Catherine Raney Norman also made the trip with Utah Multicultural Affairs Division Director Nubia Peña and consultant Darren Hughes. This first in-person IOC on-site meeting follows what was considered a successful site visit to Utah by IOC technical experts in April. Previous planned tours had to be postponed due to the ongoing waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s just something about this human-to-human connection that’s very warm,” Bullock told reporters Wednesday according to the Utah-based company. Desert News.

“One of the things we particularly felt was the sense of partnership. We all want to do what’s best for the Olympic movement, and that’s translated into us all wanting to be on this journey together.

But the road to the second Salt Lake City Winter Olympics remains as murky as the destination. Bid management remains steadfast in its desire to host its next edition as soon as possible, in 2030. But various factors could complicate this timeline, including the timeline that shows the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games only ending 18 months before the opening of the Winter Games.

This dispute would likely dilute the pool of lucrative domestic sponsorships available for the two US-based Games and could impact ticket and memorabilia sales. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and LA 2028 are stakeholders in this process and will have a say in how things unfold. Geopolitics will also come into play and the IOC may prefer to avoid staging back-to-back marquee events in the same country.

Games in 2034 have been mooted as a backup plan for Salt Lake City.

“Our position is that we will hold Games when it is in the best interests of the Olympic movement and that all the pieces will fit together as best we can. We are trying to get those pieces to fit together as soon as possible,” said Bullock,

“There’s no definitive answer yet, and we won’t expect that until probably well into the targeted dialogue,” he added, outlining a process that is expected to run from December to next May.

But according to the IOC’s published process, there should be a clear answer much sooner, at least by December 7, when the organization’s board is expected to announce offers or “preferred hosts.” ” to be taken into account for the targeted dialogue phase.

According to IOC rules, Targeted Dialogue is “a defined period during which the IOC Executive Board targets one or more Preferred Hosts to develop a project for a specific edition of the Games” (emphasis added).

Other hurdles that could push the US bid forward four years later are rival bids from Japan, Canada and possibly Spain with all three projects – like Salt Lake City – pursuing a second Games.

Sapporo is moving forward for 2030 after hosting Asia’s first Winter Olympics in 1972. The capital of the northern province of Hokkaido is well into a public engagement campaign and has released detailed bid plans.

On Tuesday, an Indigenous-led bid based in British Columbia, Canada, unveiled draft project plans for 2030 after completing a feasibility study for the eventual Games. However, no commitments have been made, as all partners must carry out assessments and agree to move forward – a process that could take months. Vancouver last hosted the Games in 2010.

A joint bid proposed by the Pyrenees and Barcelona in Spain is currently pending while partners in Catalonia and Aragon remain at an impasse over the allocation of sites. Barcelona hopes to be only the second city to host the Winter and Summer Games, but infighting is holding the plan back.

In April, the IOC first presented a possible 2030 bid timeline that would lead to a host election at its session in Mumbai, India, on May 30, 2023. But under the new IOC process, the Long-term schedules remain flexible and there is no reason why targeted dialogue for two editions of the Games cannot operate simultaneously.

If a Salt Lake City bid were to land in 2034 instead of 2030, there would be no reason for the IOC to wait and make that election later. With the IOC President’s term ending in 2025, Salt Lake City’s election would now ensure this happens under his leadership.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion