Denver, Reno-Tahoe and Salt Lake City officials are discussing potential Winter Olympic bids with the International Olympic Committee before the March 31 declaration deadline for 2026, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said Friday.
USOC leaders repeated they hope to bid for either the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games (preferably 2030) and that those are the three interested cities.
“We have encouraged the three cities from the U.S. that are interested in potentially hosting — Reno-Tahoe, Salt Lake City and Denver — to be in a dialogue with the IOC, and that is happening,” Blackmun said, adding that the USOC is “leaning” toward bidding for 2030 rather than 2026. “So, we’re very excited about the prospects of hosting, but nothing tangible to report in the way of timing.”
The IOC has not ruled out accepting multiple bids from the same country, but the USOC has not discussed that option.
“That is not a thought at this point,” Blackmun said. “We have not discussed that, although the IOC has been pretty clear that it’s very open-minded about having multiple cities host. I think it’s a little bit different thing to have multiple cities from one country competing to host.”
The USOC would rather bid for 2030 than 2026 to avoid challenges with the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.
A USOC leader said in October that the U.S. wants to be part of the discussion if the IOC wants to award the 2026 and 2030 Olympics in one vote like it did for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. In that case, the USOC may be interested in entering the next round of bidding.
If not, then a wait for the 2030 bidding in another four years is the preferred option.
Traditionally, host cities are determined after a candidate process by an IOC members vote seven years before the Games.
However, the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games were awarded at the same time to Paris and Los Angeles in September.
The 2018 and 2022 Winter Games are both in East Asia. The last time the U.S. hosted the Winter Olympics was in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
“I think [IOC president] Thomas Bach has publicly stated that he would like to see the Winter Games return to a more traditional location,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said in September. “So, to me, that’s code for Europe or North America. … We’ll have to monitor that, see what the situation looks like and then develop our strategy for whether we’re going to bid for the next Winter Games or longer than that.”
The 2026 Olympics have one confirmed bid so far from Sion, Switzerland, though its future may hinge on a public vote. Sapporo, Japan, and Calgary have also expressed interest.
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