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SALT LAKE CITY — The state’s Olympic Exploratory Committee is unanimously recommending Salt Lake City pursue another bid, this time for the 2026 Winter Games.
“Utah’s Olympic legacy is strong and vibrant and ready to provide the foundation for a future Olympic Winter Games,” the committee stated in a 36-page report to Gov. Gary Herbert and Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker dated Wednesday.
The economic benefits of hosting another Olympics is expected to produce a $5 billion economic impact, provide more than 30,000 jobs, years of employment and generate more than $75 million in revenues to state and local governments, the report concludes.
Utah's Olympic legacy is strong and vibrant and ready to provide the foundation for a future Olympic Winter Games,
–Olympic Exploratory Committee report
Those numbers are based on Utah being able to utilize venues and infrastructure built for the 2002 Winter Games and would extend the life of the state’s bobsled, luge and skeleton track, speedskating oval and other Olympic facilities, according to the report.
Strong support from the public, the business community, venue owners, athletes, sports organizations and local government for a future bid is cited in the report.
And there would be “no burden for taxpayers, regardless of the bid outcome,” the report states, because the business community believes the bid can be privately financed.
The report is now in the hands of the governor and the mayor, but it’s up the U.S. Olympic Committee whether the United States bids for the 2026 Winter Games.
The USOC is currently trying to determine whether it might be better to bid instead for the 2024 Summer Games. The USOC's decision is expected sometime in the next two years, the report states, and Utah would likely need a formal bid process in place by the fall of 2016.
Herbert created the exploratory committee, made up of government, sports and community leaders, on the February anniversary of the start of the 2002 Games.
Initially, the exploratory committee was looking at bidding for 2022 Winter Games.
But the USOC announced in July that the chances of the Olympics coming back to the United States would be better if the country waited. The final decision where an Olympics is held is up the International Olympic Committee.