Olympic bids: What an ‘under the radar’ IOC team visit means for Utah’s bid

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After three days of touring proposed venues for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Games along the Wasatch Front with a team of technical experts from the International Olympic Committee, Fraser Bullock seemed more certain than ever that the Olympics would return to the ‘Utah.

“That’s exactly what we were hoping to receive from the IOC: a partnership (and) a great contribution…that’s what we’ve felt over the past few days,” said Bullock, President and CEO of the Salt Committee. Lake City-Utah for the Games, said, describing himself as “always positive. I firmly believe that we are going to host a future Games.

Whether this is for 2030 or 2034 remains to be determined.

“Obviously I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2030, but any time we’re asked to host them, we’ll be ready,” Bullock said in a phone interview Friday from the final leg of the venue tour, the skating rink. Utah Olympic Oval sprint. in Kearns, Utah.

The visit was the first under the IOC’s new, less formal bid process, which emphasizes cutting costs to encourage more bidders. All activities of the technical inspectors were forbidden to the media. The trio of pundits staying in downtown Salt Lake City and expected to depart Saturday morning have not been identified.

Bullock, the chief operating officer of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games, said the team liked what they saw. The bid uses the same venues as 20 years ago, including the University of Utah student housing for the Athletes’ Village and Rice-Eccles Stadium for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

“Every venue has a fabulous story,” Bullock said, citing Peaks Ice Arena in Provo as an example where some of the 2002 ice hockey games took place. Since then, he said local interest in hockey and ice skating has grown and the town’s two rinks are now full, often with young children.

“At the end of the day, these are community facilities,” Bullock said.

Much of the discussion with experts was technical, focusing on the most effective way to deal with a 40% increase in events since 2002, he said. This may mean adding new competition venues in Park City, the new Mayflower Mountain Resort under construction, or on the ski slopes at Utah’s Olympic Park.

The Utah Department of Transportation offered insight into how traffic could be handled during the Games using the state agency’s more than 1,200 cameras, Bullock said, as he was at the Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, adding slalom and Super-G races to the downhill events already scheduled. was detailed.

“It really is a partnership. They try to help us be better,” he said of the IOC.

Utah’s $2.2 billion bid faces competition from three other former Olympic hosts: Sapporo, Japan, host of the 1972 Winter Games; Vancouver, Canada, host of the 2010 Winter Games; and Barcelona, ​​Spain, host of the 1992 Summer Games. Barcelona is partnering with the mountainous region of the Pyrenees in an attempt to host a Winter Games.

Under the IOC new process, there is no fixed date for choosing the next Winter Games host. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which chose Salt Lake City to bid on behalf of the United States more than three years ago, said the field should be narrowed within months and the deal sealed within 2023.

It is unclear when the other Candidate Cities will see the IOC inspectors, although there are reports in Vancouver next week, and insidethegames.biz said the Spanish Olympic Committee has confirmed a planned May visit to the Pyrenees-Barcelona region had to be delayed due to disagreements over the location of the sites.

Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, told reporters he expects the squabbles between regional authorities to be settled soon because, “we are in a hurry, a representation from the IOC was going to come in May to see the facilities, and now we have to delay it.

The IOC had little to say about the visit to Utah, saying there would be “no media activity surrounding technical visits to potential hosts.”

In response to a request from Deseret News for more details on who technical inspectors are, what they look for and how their findings fit into the new bidding processthe IOC press office said that only inspectors are not members of the Future Hosts Winter Commission responsible for recommending gaming sites.

The commission is led by Romanian IOC member Octavian Morariu, and includes IOC members from Austria, Sweden and Afghanistan, Chinese gold medalist in speed skating Zhang Hongthe head of the winter sports federations and representatives of the national olympic committees and the International Paralympic Committee.

It’s up to the powerful IOC Executive Board to decide whether to advance a candidate – or candidates, if the decision is to award multiple Games at the same time, as happened with the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games – to a vote of the more than 100 members organisation.

As part of the new bid process, the IOC press office said the organization “meets regularly, either in person or virtually”, with cities, regions or nations that have expressed interest in hosting Games. Olympics.

“We offer contextual advice and guidance, and we are always interested in hearing from cities, regions and National Olympic Committees who wish to discuss accommodation, at any stage of their project development. The IOC respects the confidentiality of all such discussions,” the press office said.

The three-day visit was described by the IOC as part of “a range of services available to interested parties”.

“These services include a technical visit to the IOC site to help potential hosts and their National Olympic Committees develop their plans for the Games and consider their venue options,” the press office said. “The technical visit also provides the Future Host Commission with an update on the site’s master plan.”

Matthew Burbank, a professor of political science at the University of Utah and co-author of two books on the Olympics, said the IOC was deliberately keeping a low profile in hopes of avoiding the kind of opposition that has led Stockholm and other likely hosts to drop out of the running in recent years, leaving few viable options.

This is how Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Games, found itself with the last Winter Olympics the subject of a diplomatic boycott by the United States and several other countries on the record of China on human rights which was pushed by Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the leader of the last Utah Olympics.

“The IOC is really trying to fly under the radar,” Burbank said, because with other cities, “as soon as it becomes a big public debate…you get opposition. You get people saying, ‘How are we going to pay us for it?” and all those sorts of questions. That’s really what the IOC wants to avoid.

He said while it probably won’t happen in Utah, staying away from the public is how the IOC is “adapting to the changing environment in many other cities.” Burbank said fighting for the Olympics is now more about dealing directly with the IOC than bidding against competitors.

“That’s what really changed in this process. It’s really not a bidding process anymore,” the professor said. “It’s a bit more, ‘Let’s negotiate this and when we’re ready to announce, we’ll tell the world about it,’ and see how it goes from there.”

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