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Salt Lake City-Utah one step closer to 2034 Olympic Games

Salt Lake City—Salt Lake City-Utah is one step closer to bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games back to America. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board Wednesday (Nov. 29) extended an invitation to the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games into Targeted Dialogue as the only Preferred Host for the 2034 edition of the Games.

As the Preferred Host, Salt Lake City-Utah will now continue its discussions with the IOC in both strategic and technical areas. The Targeted Dialogue process is designed to engage the IOC and the Preferred Host together, with the end goal of election by the IOC as a Games host. The IOC has previously indicated that it may elect the next host at an IOC Session in 2024.

The invitation from the IOC comes after more than a decade of work by a broad range of Salt Lake City-Utah leaders, going back to the first Olympic Exploratory Committee on the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Games in February 2012. In 2018, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee selected Salt Lake City-Utah as ‘America’s Choice,’ enabling it to be the sole Interested Party from the USA engaging in Continuous Dialogue with the IOC.

Just a week earlier, on November 21, 2023, Salt Lake City-Utah presented its case to the IOC’s Future Host Commission. The Commission, in turn, presented its recommendations Wednesday (Nov. 29) to the IOC Executive Board.

Salt Lake City was the host of the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Those Games ignited a legacy of sport, with budget surplus being invested into long term facilities and programs for sport across the state. Since then, more than 1,000 national and international events have been held in Utah, known as the State of Sport.

SLC-UT President and CEO Fraser Bullock, who served as chief operating officer in 2002, noted several areas of strength for the bid. Bullock cited a positive atmosphere of support from grassroots up through political leaders, its network of existing venues all within an hour of a single athlete village, and Utah’s sport and event capability that showcased a high level of preparedness to conduct one of the world’s largest sporting events.

Board chair Catherine Raney Norman, a four-time Olympic speedskater, helped lead a strong engagement by athletes who provided critical feedback in strategic planning. In addition, Raney Norman has led efforts to engage community causes in the Games to use the platform to help unite communities.

The benefits of a Salt Lake City-Utah Games were highlighted over the past few years in multiple studies by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. Those studies highlighted the economic opportunities offered with a Games, and also called out the positive social impacts a Games could make across the state. Studies also explored how the Games could be conducted in a sustainable manner.

Bid leaders will now take this invitation to a joint meeting of their strategic and governing boards on Friday (Dec. 1) for ratification. Leaders will then celebrate with a program at the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles from 6:00-6:30 p.m. Friday evening.

COMMENTS

Governor Spencer Cox, Governor, State of Utah

“Our biggest strength as the State of Utah is our unity and partnership. Over the coming months, we will continue to showcase the remarkable attributes of our state and, most of all, our people. We look forward to a decision by the IOC in 2024 to welcome Salt Lake City-Utah as a future host for 2034.”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Mayor, Salt Lake City

“The 2034 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have the power to unify our communities and inspire future generations, champions, and leaders of tomorrow. We feel an immense sense of pride in our city today and anxiously look forward to a final decision from the IOC next year.”

Fraser Bullock, President & CEO, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games

“The decision of the IOC to invite Salt Lake City-Utah into Targeted Dialogue as the Preferred Host for 2034 is a credit to our communities working together to create a welcoming region for sport across our state. For more than a decade, our state and community leaders have united towards this goal. The IOC has recognized our high level of preparedness, with all venues in place and active, as well as overwhelming support from our political and business leaders as well as the public.”

Catherine Raney Norman, Chair, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games (four-time Olympian)

“Our continued engagement of athletes in our planning and seeking new, innovative ways to enhance our communities through sport have been recognized by the IOC. Those efforts will not only help us to produce a great Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2034, but will leave a lasting legacy across our Utah communities.”

Sarah Hirshland, CEO, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee

“Today’s announcement by the IOC and its Future Host Commission is another important milestone in returning the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to Salt Lake City and the State of Utah. The team, led by Fraser and Catherine, and driven forward in partnership with elected officials and civic leaders is a model of commitment and excellence. This effort is grounded in a love of winter sport, in respect for the communities here in Utah and in a belief in the great power of bringing the world together through sport. As the Games return, I am thrilled that generations of Olympic and Paralympic sport participants and fans will get to know and experience all that this community has to offer.”

RESOURCE DOCUMENTS

Targeted Dialogue Unwrapped

Want to learn more about the IOC’s selection process, the meaning of targeted dialogue and an outline of next steps? The IOC has produced a simple guide to the process.

IOC: Targeted Dialogue Explained

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Research

2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Utah: Demographic, Social, and Environmental Factors

Kem Gardner 2030 Games Projected Economic Impact Analysis