SALT LAKE CITY — With the International Olympic Committee's decision Monday to give the 2026 Winter Games to Milan, Italy, Salt Lake City's efforts to secure another Olympics officially shifts to 2030 or beyond.
A year ago, when Gov. Gary Herbert and other Utah leaders endorsed bidding again for the Winter Games, there was talk that the IOC might end up without a viable candidate for 2026 and turn to Salt Lake City, the host in 2002.
Salt Lake City soon got the go-ahead from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee to participate in bid discussions, but by the time the city was officially chosen to bid in December over Denver and Reno-Tahoe, it was for a future Winter Games.
At that point, both Milan and Stockholm, Sweden, were still in the running for 2026, and the IOC had ruled out choosing the sites of two Winter Games at the same time, as happened with the Summer Games.
Fraser Bullock, the chief operating officer of the 2002 Winter Games and a leader of the new bid effort, said Salt Lake City anticipates picking up the bid effort later this year with the IOC.
"I think the IOC is interested in letting the dust settle a little bit from 2026, because it's been a very intensive effort. They've been focused on that," Bullock said. "The USOPC may want to start entering a dialog for whatever future Games it is."
He said Salt Lake City will follow the lead of the U.S. Olympic Committee
"They will make that choice," Bullock said. "Whether it's 2030 or 2034 or beyond. I would think they would be more focused on 2034, all with an eye on Los Angeles being successful" in hosting the 2028 Summer Games.
The IOC's bidding process is being "reformed significantly," he said.
"The intent is to shift from a competitive bid like we saw today, where you have a winner and a loser," Bullock said. "It’s very painful for the losing country as the people of Salt Lake know when we lost for 1998" to Nagano, Japan.
The new bid process, set to be discussed Monday by the IOC, would create a commission that would seek "flexibility and collaboration" from cities interested in hosting an Olympics.
Bullock said that should save bid cities considerable money. Salt Lake had expected to spend $10 million bidding for a future Winter Games. The process could also be seen as benefiting cities already familiar to the IOC.