Around this time next year, the International Olympic Committee plans to announce the host of the 2030 and possibly 2034 Olympics. But the organizers of Utah’s bid for the next Winter Games will receive assurances, or a rejection, months before that.
By December, local organizers will know if they have made the final cut, according to a schedule announced last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the closing of the 139th IOC Session and Executive Board meeting. This is when the IOC plans to enter into focused discussions with its preferred host for the 2030 Games, as selected by its future Host Commission. The IOC could also start talks with the preferred host of the 2034 Games at that time.
“In the best of all worlds, this would happen at the IOC session in Mumbai in May next year,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “… To achieve this, the executive board should then decide on a targeted dialogue in December.”
The IOC has adopted a new way of selecting hosts in 2019 following a myriad of scandals, including one in the run-up to the inaugural Salt Lake City Olympics.
In the Targeted Dialogue phase, the IOC works closely with a single candidate to ensure it can tick all the boxes to host an Olympic Games in the specified year. It’s not a guarantee that the site will be chosen as the host – the 105 IOC members will vote on it at the May 2023 session in India – but it is a strong indication.
Who are the candidates for the 2030 Winter Olympics?
Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director for the Olympics, said on Friday the commission will spend the summer refining its choices for 2030. Strong contenders at the moment are Sapporo, Japan; Vancouver, Canada; and Salt Lake City – all of which have hosted previous Winter Olympics. Spain has also submitted an attractive offer to host in the regions of Catalonia and Aragon, but its candidacy has been marred by political disputes.
“We have a very strong proposal,” Dubi said in response to a timing question from a Japanese Kyodo Times reporter, “and it’s very nice at this point.”
Over the next few months, members of the Salt Lake City-Utah Games Committee will therefore do their utmost to enlighten the Future Hosts Commission on all that Utah has to offer.
“Now is an accelerated period of the bid because, with Beijing behind us, this now becomes the central focus of the IOC,” Bullock said. “So we’re incredibly focused on improving and improving our offering.”
Next month, a delegation from Utah and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee will travel to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to plead their case. Immediately afterwards, they will travel to Milan, Italy – site of the 2026 Winter Games – for a debriefing with the Beijing Organizing Committee.
These will be the first opportunities for local organizers to meet IOC members in person. A trip to Lausanne scheduled for last November was canceled and a December meeting was held virtually, both because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Utah delegation also missed an opportunity to grease the skates in Beijing after the observer program for the 2022 Olympics – designed to give potential hosts a behind-the-scenes look at the organization of the Olympics – was canceled days before Bullock was scheduled to leave.
The meeting in Italy, scheduled for June 20, will be a kind of make-up for this missed observation opportunity. All the towns which expressed their interest in hosting were invited to participate.
“We look forward to this opportunity to be able to learn what’s new,” Bullock said, “because a lot has changed since our games in 2002, especially in technology and other elements of hosting.”
What must Utah do to secure the Olympics?
Bullock and his colleagues already have an idea of what needs to be upgraded – such as e-ticketing systems and expanded internet access – after hosting an IOC technical committee in late April. The three-person committee visited all of the venues that the SLC-Utah group proposed for the 2030 Games. Among them were four ice caps, Utah Olympic Park, Soldier Hollow, the Department of Utah Transportation and University of Utah dorms and stadium. The tour also included four ski resorts: Park City Mountain, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, and the yet to be built Mayflower in Park City.
The SLC-Utah committee pointed out that many of its venues were built for the 2002 Olympics and will require major updates if they are invited to host competitions in 2034 or beyond. In 2017, the IOC named two Summer Games hosts, Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028. It is possible that the IOC will follow this path with the next Winter Olympics. Or Bach, whose term ends in 2025, can leave that decision to his successor.
The observers, who will report to the Future Host Commission, traveled directly from Salt Lake City to Vancouver for a similar visit. They also have a trip to Sapporo, host of the 1972 Winter Olympics, planned in the coming months.
Bullock said local organizers and observers had a good exchange of ideas, but their guests were pretty tight-lipped about how the Utah facility compares to other potential hosts.
“They’re very suitably confidential about their impression,” Bullock said. “Their job is to report to the Commission on future hosts. But, the feeling of partnership and collaboration just in them to help us with our bid was incredibly strong.
What is the cost of organizing the Winter Olympics?
Many outside observers have said they believe Sapporo is the favorite to win the 2030 bid. This stems from the belief that the IOC ‘owes’ Japan another Olympics after bearing most of the cost of the postponement. of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games by a year – the first time such a delay has occurred since World War II. These games officially cost $12.7 billion, twice as much as originally expected. However, a national auditor approximated the figure to $20 billion.
As a result, it is believed that the Japanese people are not entirely on board with the return of the Olympics. But Sapporo, which has said there will be no referendum on its candidacy, expects these Games to cost much less. Using some of the venues built for the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano – nine hours by train from Sapporo – organizers estimate the cost will be between $2.4 billion and $2.6 billion.
Salt Lake City’s 2030 proposal carries a similar estimated price tag of $2.2 billion, which Bullock has promised will not be borne by taxpayers. Pushing the date back to 2034 would bring it closer to $2.6 billion, still one of the cheapest contenders. Partly because Bullock oversaw the 2002 Games, considered one of the most financially successful Olympics in history, and because he won’t need to build new venues, Utah is also considered a reliable option.
One of the main concerns, however, is whether Salt Lake City can muster enough sponsors in a decade filled with top-tier sporting events in the United States. In addition to Los Angeles hosting the 2028 Summer Games, the United States will host the World Championships in Athletics this year, the Soccer World Cup in 2026, the Men’s Rugby World Cup in 2031 and the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2033.
This could prompt the IOC to choose Vancouver for 2030 or 2034 instead. Last hosted in 2010, the Canadian venue has newer facilities and has an “indigenous-led” bid, a first of its kind. If that happened, the IOC would likely be reluctant to choose Utah for the other Games, as it would give North America three Olympic Games in six years. Then it could be another few decades before the Olympics return to Salt Lake City.