Another Olympics? Utah nears a decision
To bid or not, and if so when those are questions before two Olympic organizations Tuesday.
Utah's Olympic Exploratory Committee is meeting at 9 a.m. to review a report expected to recommend to Gov. Gary Herbert that another bid for a Winter Olympics would be in the state's best interest.
The opportunity to do so depends on the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) allowing American cities to enter the chase once again, now that a dispute with the International Olympic Committee over revenue sharing has been resolved.
Will the USOC get going right away and pursue the 2022 Winter Olympics? Or will it hold off a bit and make a run first for the 2024 Summer Games? If the latter alternative is selected, 2026 would be the next Winter Olympics potentially hosted by a U.S. city.
Those options will be the subject of an afternoon teleconference meeting of the USOC board. Its trustees had been scheduled to discuss future bid strategy last week, but the wildfire ravaging Colorado Springs, home of the USOC, forced officials to shorten the agenda to issues leading up to the London Summer Olympics, which start July 27.
After last week's truncated meeting, USOC Chairman Larry Probst said, "It's likely we'll create a subcommittee or task force to talk [bid] process and timing. They'll come back with a recommendation in the not-too-distant future so we can move this process forward sooner rather than later."
Sooner would be better for the hosting ambitions of Salt Lake City, Denver, Reno-Tahoe or Bozeman, Mont., four U.S. cities that have expressed interest in pursuing a Winter Olympic bid.
But for any to become a viable 2022 candidate on the international stage, one likely would have to be selected as the U.S. candidate before the end of 2013 leaving enough time to build a bid capable of winning over the IOC when it renders a decision in 2015.
Salt Lake City would appear to have an advantage over its U.S. competitors in a shortened process because its 2002 Olympic venues are intact and in good shape. It would not have to conduct detailed studies to pinpoint the locations of competition venues and support facilities, such as the athletes' village.
That advanced state of readiness is expected to be a major selling point of a go-for-it recommendation from the Exploratory Committee, which has heard considerable support for another bid since it began meeting in March.
The committee's draft report is being written by Grant Thomas, who was the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's senior vice president over venues and transportation for the 2002 Games.
He also is an adviser to the IOC, as is Fraser Bullock, who was Mitt Romney's right-hand man in running SLOC and is a nonvoting member of the Olympic Exploratory Committee.
Bullock teamed with Probst and USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun to negotiate the new revenue-sharing deal with the IOC.
The Exploratory Committee meeting is in the Salt Lake City offices of the Utah Sports Commission.
Utah's Olympic Exploratory Committee will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Utah Sports Commission, 201 S. Main, Suite 2125.