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International Olympic Committee Announces Salt Lake as ‘Preferred’ Candidate for 2034 Games

If there’s anything we learned from 2002, it’s that Salt Lake City is no stranger to putting on a show to remember. 
Xiangyao Tang
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)


After a long period of anticipation for many Utah residents, the International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that Salt Lake City is the preferred finalist to host the 2034 Winter Olympics. 

We did it! The world is coming back to Utah in 2034,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said in a tweet. “So proud of our team and can’t wait to make this the greatest Olympics ever.”

Though the decision isn’t quite official, cities that previously expressed interest including Vancouver, Canada and Sapporo, Japan have dropped out of the race, leaving Salt Lake as the last major contender for the bid. The IOC website clarifies that Salt Lake has been included in a “Targeted Dialogue” in preparations to host the games.

All that is left to finalize the decision is for the many government contracts to be drawn up and for Utah to provide the necessary assurances before it can be approved. If all moves forward smoothly, the members of the IOC will officially take a vote on it next July

The IOC must consider numerous criteria for a city to be deemed a preferred candidate, and having previously hosted the games in 2002, Salt Lake City is more than prepared. Most, if not all, of the necessary facilities — including hotels, arenas, tracks and other performance spaces — are already present from the previous games, so no significant investment is required to make the games feasible. The 2002 games were also notably one of the few Olympic Games to turn a profit, and all of the leftover money from those events was put toward the upkeep of facilities. This information alone makes Salt Lake an attractive candidate, but there is more to consider.

Salt Lake City allows for a condensed Olympic layout, meaning that all athlete housing and event venues are within an hour of the city. The 2002 Olympic Village, where all the athletes live for the duration of the games, was located in Historic Fort Douglas, right here on the University of Utah campus

Not to mention that Salt Lake also has plentiful experience in hosting other high-profile winter events, due to their world-class skiing areas in Park City and Deer Valley. Deer Valley, for example, was responsible for aerial, alpine slalom and freestyle mogul events during the 2002 games.

With the Winter Olympics returning to Utah in 2034, the eyes of the world will be drawn back to Salt Lake City to watch one of the most prestigious events on Earth. But if there’s anything we learned from 2002, it’s that Salt Lake City is no stranger to putting on a show to remember. 

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About the Contributors
Abbey Thomas, Assistant Sports Editor
Abbey Thomas started at the Daily Utah Chronicle in the fall of 2022 as a Sports Writer and is now Assistant Sports Editor for the desk. She is currently studying Cultural Anthropology with a minor in history and hopes to pursue medicine one day. Abbey is a die-hard fan of Real Salt Lake and Manchester City, and loves to travel and practice photography in her free time!
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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