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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Utah’s Olympic Comeback: Preparing for the 2034 Bid

Hosting the 2034 Winter Olympics has the potential to transform Utah, boosting its economy to a level never seen before.
Mens+super-G+at+Snowbasin+Resort+during+the+2002+Winter+Olympics.+%28Photo+by+Ken+Lund+%7C+Courtesy+Wikimedia+Commons%29
Men’s super-G at Snowbasin Resort during the 2002 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Ken Lund | Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

 

It was not too long ago when the world’s greatest games were played here in Salt Lake City — the 2002 Winter Olympics. The United States has hosted the Winter Games four times — twice at the mountain town of Lake Placid, New York, once at what is now Lake Tahoe in California and, most recently, here in Salt Lake. The 2002 Winter Olympics was ca massive success and marked a significant turning point in Utah’s history, bringing international attention and recognition to its winter sports prowess.

Hosting the Winter Olympics gave Utah the opportunity to showcase its elite sports facilities as well as its natural beauty and unique culture. Having the games in Salt Lake City also proved to be a lucrative investment, as tourism rose to a level the state had never seen before and generated money that the state still benefits from today.

Since 2002, Utah has been itching to get the games back in Salt Lake. Now, Salt Lake is one of the frontrunners for a 2034 Winter Olympic bid.

The 2002 Winter Olympics was an impactful one, as it came at a time when the United States needed it most. The Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City played a crucial role in comforting a nation still recovering from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. For Americans, these Games symbolized strength and determination, perfectly captured by the Opening Ceremony’s song, “Light the Fire Within.”

The Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza by Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Sept. 23, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Xiangyao Tang)

The 2002 Olympic Games also showcased Utah’s ability to host a world-class event. Utah built state-of-the-art venues, including the Utah Olympic Park and the Salt Lake County Ice Center. These facilities are still used today for training, competitions and public recreation, contributing to the state’s lasting reputation as a winter sports hub.

The 2002 games saw the U.S. win a record 34 medals, an achievement that could be due to the fact that U.S. Olympians were able to practice at some of the best ski resorts in the world, including Snowbird, Deer Valley and Snowbasin.

Due to the success of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, it is very likely that the games will be brought back to Utah in the near future. Utah’s Gov. Spencer Cox has made it clear to the press that he intends to bring the games back to the Beehive state.

According to a recent report from KSL News, Gov. Cox is “99.9%” sure that the Games will be brought back to Utah, and he’s certain that the decision for a future Olympic bid will be made before the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Chair Gene Sykes also spoke on the probability of Utah’s bid.

“I say again, there are not likely to be bids that are more attractive than the Salt Lake City, Utah bid, for 2030 or 2034,” Sykes told Deseret News.

In recent years, the International Olympic Committee has placed a strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Utah’s commitment to preserving its natural surroundings has been adjusted to fit these criteria.

The IOC now requires rigorous financial planning and transparency, which may work to Utah’s benefit as they have already proven that they are capable of successfully hosting a lucrative winter experience. If Utah’s goal is to host the 2034 Olympic Games, they must understand that they are competing with several other winter hotspots worldwide, including Sapporo, Japan and Vancouver, Canada. Studying places the IOC has recently selected to host the Olympics would help Utah better understand what factors are most important to them, and would be crucial in helping Utah win the 2034 bid.

Utah’s Olympic legacy, its reputation as a winter sports hub and the evolving Olympic bidding process all play important roles in shaping the likelihood of the return of the games. Hosting the 2034 Winter Olympics has the potential to transform Utah, boosting its economy to a level never seen before, celebrating its winter sports heritage and showcasing its commitment to the environment on the global stage.

Utah stands at the threshold of a remarkable and rare opportunity, one that could leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.

 

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@max_valva

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About the Contributors
Max Valva, Sports Writer
Max Valva is a sports writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle and is a studying journalism. Growing up playing basketball he made it his goal to pursue a career connected to the game. He is a diehard A’s, Warriors and Raiders fan.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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