Salt Lake City hosting 2030 Olympics is officially on the table

USOPC is ‘poised and ready’ to discuss hosting the Winter Olympics again, chair Susanne Lyons said.

U.S. Olympic Committee Acting CEO Susanne Lyons testifies before the House Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee about the Olympic community's ability to protect athletes from sexual abuse, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Lyons said the committee is ready to start talking about Salt Lake City as an Olympics bid site for 2030. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

For years, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has said it didn’t expect to broach the subject of Salt Lake City’s bid for a future Olympics until after the Tokyo Games have started.

Well, the Olympic cauldron has been lit, and the USOPC is talking.

Chairperson Susanne Lyons said Saturday in Tokyo that the USOPC is “poised and ready” to discuss Utah’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics with the International Olympic Committee.

“We have not had any significant active discussion about winter bids beyond the next Games,” Lyons said. “However, we are poised and ready.

“Salt Lake City is so excited and so supportive of the notion of having the Winter Games return to the U.S., and we will probably be having some conversations.”

Lyons said the USOPC and the IOC hadn’t had “any significant discussions” about the Salt Lake City bid in at least nine years.

Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas were selected by the USOPC in December 2018 as the site of the United States’ next Winter Olympics. The following year, the IOC, beleaguered by accusations of rampant bribery in its bid selection process, announced changes to the way hosts are selected. Potential hosts would no longer be pitted against one another and Games would be awarded whenever the IOC found a suitable site, rather than every seven years.

In early 2020, the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games was formed and tasked with evaluating which would be the best year on which to bid, 2030 or 2034. It expected to have its answer by last fall. When the coronavirus pandemic happened, however, organizers said they wouldn’t raise their case until after the Tokyo Games were underway.

That time has come.

Lyons said of the IOC, “They are very well aware of our readiness and desire to bid.”

Sapporo in Japan, Barcelona in Spain and Vancouver, Canada, have also expressed interest in hosting in 2030. Los Angeles will host the Summer Games in 2028.

Fraser Bullock, the president of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, told The Salt Lake Tribune that both 2030 and 2034 are still on the table. He said the committee is readying bids for both scenarios. It takes about two years to prepare a bid, which can be thousands of pages long and includes information on hotel and vendor contracts.

“We’re in dialog with the IOC to see what would be the best fit for all parties: the IOC, the USOPC and Salt Lake City,” Bullock said. “And as Susanne said, 2030 is under very, very serious consideration right now.”

Whether the USOPC submits a bid for that year is now in the IOC’s hands, Lyons said.

“I think it is somewhat their call to think about what other countries are interested and when they want us to bid and if they want us to bid,” she said. “But we are prepared and ready. We think Salt Lake City will be an outstanding candidate for the Winter Games.”

Correction • July 25, 10:50 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct the year Los Angeles will host the Olympic Summer Games.