Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah may have some new competition in the race to host another Winter Games.
The head of Germany's national Olympic committee announced this week the country that hasn't hosted an Olympics for a half-century is looking at several potential bids including for the 2034 Winter Games, after deciding there wasn't enough time left to go after the 2030 Winter Games.
It's "too late" to bid for 2030 because "everything is already in the works," Thomas Weikert, the president of the German Olympic Sports Federation told the German news media following the country's success in hosting a pair of international sporting events, according to insidethegames.biz.
Instead, Weikert said Germany's current Olympic leaders "are aiming for an application as soon as possible, should we be re-elected, and that would be for the 2034 or 2036 (Summer) Games." He also said a bid for the 2040 Summer Games was also a possibility.
Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Winter Games, is bidding for both the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games.
But the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee recently made it clear that 2034 would be preferable. With the 2028 Summer Games already set to be held in Los Angeles and a recession looming, there are increasing concerns that back-to-back Olympics in the United States could hurt revenues.
Sapporo, Japan; and Vancouver, Canada; are the other contenders for 2030 and both bids have issues — new allegations keep surfacing in an Olympic bribery scandal involving a Japanese executive from the COVID-19 delayed 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, while Vancouver has yet to secure needed government support in Canada.
The International Olympic Committee is not expected to finalize its choice for the 2030 Winter Games until sometime in the fall of next year after a session scheduled for May was postponed. Yet to be decided is whether IOC leaders still plan to narrow the 2030 field when they meet this December.
IOC President Thomas Bach has ruled out choosing hosts for the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games at the same time even though there was speculation that would happen under the new, less formal bid process. Bach, who is from Germany, said over the summer that the 2034 pick needs to wait until after his term ends in 2025.
The IOC president also spelled out his concerns about Salt Lake City hosting in 2030, during a June meeting in Switzerland with Utah bidders and USOPC leaders. Bach said the United States should have been more supportive of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, despite China's human rights record.
Germany last hosted an Olympics in 1972, a Summer Games in Munich. Since then, German cities have bid unsuccessfully for at six Olympics, starting with the 1992 Winter Games held in Albertville, France, and most recently, the 2032 Summer Games that were awarded years earlier than expected to Brisbane, Australia.
Some past German bids struggled to gain public support, including a referendum defeat that kept Munich from following up the loss of the 2018 Winter Games to Pyeongchang, South Korea, with a bid for 2022. Hamburg's bid for the 2024 Summer Games also ended at the ballot box.
Weikert said there's no rush to decide on Germany's next Olympic bid.
He said he doesn't expect any discussions to begin with the IOC until after the 2024 Summer Games in Paris and "then we will sum up and see whether we apply and with whom we apply if the whole thing turns out positive from our point of view," according to GamesBids.com.
"We won't commit to anything beforehand," Weikert said. "The new guidelines of the IOC give us more flexibility. For example, it doesn't have to be just one location where the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held, according to modern interpretation there can also be two."
Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, had little to say about Germany's interest in 2034.
"We are always very respectful of any other bidders," Bullock said. "Our focus continues to be on preparing the best bid possible and we are making excellent progress."