In mid-October, a group of business, community and elected state leaders announced the formation of an official Olympic/Paralympic Exploratory Committee (OEC), a likely step toward launching a bid for a second Olympics in Utah — in either 2026 or 2030. Over the next few months, the exploratory committee will examine whether the state should submit Salt Lake City’s name as a potential bidder.
The committee will dive into budgets, marketing, potential revenue streams and the overall impact on the state. Since the 2002 Olympics, Utah has maintained its Olympic legacy, continuing to host annual world cup and world championship events in winter sports in the Salt Lake Valley and Park City at several of the same venues used 15 years ago.
“The venues are in good shape,” said Jeff Robbins, CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “We need a little bit of sprucing up and a little bit of refurbishing, but they’re being utilized. For us, we’re so far ahead of the competition, both from a financial standpoint but also because our venues are built. We probably can use all of the same venues, or certainly most of them, with much less cost than another city would have.”
The USOC has indicated it was interested in bidding for an upcoming Winter Olympics. Late last month, the International Olympic Committee launched its bid process for the 2026 Winter Games, but it’s possible the IOC also may pick a host city for the 2030 Winter Games at the same time, as it did in awarding the 2024 Summer Games to Paris and 2028 Summer Olympics to Los Angeles.
USOC board members have discussed the possibility of going for either option, knowing a 2026 bid must be submitted by March. Salt Lake City, Denver and Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe area have expressed interest in becoming candidates.
The exploratory committee will be co-chaired by Robbins, Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Fraser Bullock, chief operating officer of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) in 2002. Bullock was SLOC’s president after the Games, overseeing the distribution of a $100 million profit, including a $64 million endowment still underwriting operations of the speedskating oval in Kearns, bobsled/luge track and ski jumps outside of Park City and the Soldier Hollow cross country and biathlon facility in Midway.
Representatives of two sports organizations that benefit from those facilities — U.S. Speedskating Association President Mike Plant and Dexter Paine, chairman of U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association — will serve as committee vice chairmen. Incoming Park City Mayor Andy Beerman is also on this committee.