Feb 08 2012
Governor Convenes Committee, Gives Them Four Months to Report
KEARNS, UTAH - In front of what has been called the fastest ice in the world and the athletes who train on it, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined other Utah officials and Olympic VIPs to announce the formation of an exploratory committee to consider a bid for the 2022 or 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
"Ten years ago, Utah 'Lit the Fire Within,' and today that flame still burns bright," Governor Herbert said, citing the debt-free success of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. "This talented committee will thoughtfully and carefully consider whether we should officially submit Salt Lake City to be considered to host future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games."
"The 2002 Winter Games are an exciting chapter of Salt Lake City's history," said Mayor Becker. "The outcome was a spectacular success. As we explore the possibility of again hosting the Olympic Winter Games, there is no predetermined recommendation. We believe an investment of meaningful time and effort is worthwhile to make the right decision - not only for Salt Lake City, but for all of Utah."
Co-chaired by Lt. Governor Greg Bell, Mayor Becker, and Utah Sports Commission Chair Steven Price, the exploratory committee will examine specific criteria, including budget and financing, transportation, environment, venues, potential competitors, public support, and economic impact. The committee plans to take three to four months to complete its review.
And timing matters. Should the exploratory committee recommend pursuit of the 2022 Games, Salt Lake City has limited time to become the U.S. nominee. As soon as 2013, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) may choose to officially submit a candidate city to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC will then select the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in 2015.
"Utah's world class venues are heavily utilized today by athletes of all ages and skill levels, including elite athletes," Dr. Eric Heiden, a five-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in speedskating, added. "In fact, 40% of the U.S. Olympians that competed in Vancouver in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games train in Utah. These venues are a significant advantage in a potential bid."
The exploratory committee is comprised of well-credentialed Utahns, including Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie; Governor's Office of Economic Development Executive Director Spencer Eccles; five-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in speedskating, Dr. Eric Heiden; Utah Athletic Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton; Salt Lake Organizing Committee Chief Financial Officer Brett Hopkins; the Governor's Chief of Staff Derek Miller; four-time Olympian in speedskating and USOC Athlete Advisory Council member Catherine Raney Norman; Utah Sports Commission Executive Director Jeff Robbins; Olympic gold medalist in skeleton and third-generation Olympian Jimmy Shea; President and General Manager of the Park City Mountain Resort and Chairperson of the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association Jenni Smith; and City Creek Construction Services Director Grant Thomas. Fraser Bullock, former COO and CFO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, will be an advisor to the committee.