Who else is excited about the Governor’s announcement last week that Salt Lake City has formed an Olympic Exploratory Committee to host the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games?
Like so many Utahns who lived here during the games, I have incredible memories of our host experience. Utah truly welcomed the world and our games were a salve to the country after the horrific September 11 terrorist attacks. Since the Olympics, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation has done a remarkable job of maintaining the assets of the games and in making them a treasure for our citizens to enjoy. Additionally, the Utah Sports Commission has marketed the State as a host of several high-profile successful sporting events in the decade and a half since the 2002 Winter Games.
In many ways, the 2002 Olympics were the turning point for economic development in the State. Utah’s brand recognition was enhanced through the Olympics. We became known as a community that could do hard things and do them well. Further, the investments to upgrade our transportation and transit systems pay dividends today as they are critical in moving people and goods throughout our economy.
I am optimistic that the Exploratory Committee will do the good work the people of Utah expect it to. They should ask hard questions about the viability of hosting another games, and whether it will be possible to run a second games in the same financially prudent way we did in 2002. We need to be cognizant that our first role is to support the success and viability of the L.A. games. Of course, our organization will support the committee’s work and its outcomes, but I feel strongly that we are in a better position to host now than we were 15 years ago. Seeing our community collaborate again on a huge undertaking is thrilling and I am looking forward to hearing the report.