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SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah celebrates the 10th anniversary of our Olympic games, probably the most asked question is, could we host them again?
Remember how the city looked all dressed up with huge wraps over the buildings? Many would like to see that view again and have the games come back to our state. Among former Olympic volunteers, it's unanimous: of course Salt Lake could once again host the Olympics!
"We put all that money into it and it ought to come back again instead of rebuilding it wherever they do," said volunteer Harry Potter.
Vaughn Larson added, "I just remember when they ended. It was a bummer when they ended."
Related, from the Deseret News:
Former Salt Lake City Mayor DeeDee Corradini said, "I think if the will is here locally that there's no question we could host the games again."
But as Salt Lake's former mayor knows better than anyone, the question "Could we host the games?" is much different than "Would we host the games?"
Fraser Bullock, COO and CFO of the 2002 games said, "I think the odds are pretty reasonable because it's very hard to have a good city for the Winter Olympic Games."
Olympic organizers say these dynamics work in our favor:
- Infrastructure -- Utah's venues that have hosted some 450 events since the games.
- A great reputation from successful games.
- Volunteers -- more than double what was needed signed up in 2002.
Working against us:
- Salt Lake was the last U.S. host city.
- Memory of the Olympic bribery scandal.
- Timing -- it may be too soon.
"There has to be some time lag between hosting the games and how long that is, is anybody's guess. But that is the major negative for us," Bullock said.
The wild card? Mitt Romney. What if the former Olympic boss became president of the United States? Also, those few cities that have hosted a winter Olympics twice, organizers agree, are too small to host them now.
Corradini said, "We are the winter sports training capital. We have phenomenal venues and it would be so easy to host them again."
In fact, many would argue, with light rail from the airport available soon, downtown expansion, and more hotels, we're better prepared to host them now than in 2002. If Salt Lake did want to be considered, the application fee alone is $150,000.