The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officially endorsed Salt Lake City on Thursday as the American bid city for an upcoming Winter Olympics, with the committee’s chairman saying that while the U.S. bid remains flexible, it would prefer hosting in 2034 over 2030.
The move to put Salt Lake City up as a candidate for “targeted dialogue” with the International Olympic Committee about an upcoming Winter Games was expected, but still marked a major milestone for the bid, said the city’s bid-committee president, Fraser Bullock.
Bid organizers have touted Salt Lake City, which hosted the Winter Games in 2002, as the most ready and most flexible candidate to host in either 2030 or 2034. The 2030 bid process has been muddled, with Canada and Japan pulling out of the running, but Sweden, Switzerland and France all more recently discussing a possible bid with the IOC.
The 2034 Games would be less of a logistical and business challenge for both Salt Lake City and the USOPC, since 2030 would come only two years after Los Angeles hosts the Summer Games.
The 2030 host was originally supposed to be selected at an annual IOC meeting in Mumbai next month, but that has been changed and is now expected to be chosen at a meeting on the eve of next year’s Olympics in Paris.