Salt Lake City among 3 cities interested in Winter Olympic bids

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Salt Lake City, Sapporo (Japan) and Barcelona are interested in potential Winter Olympic bids for 2030, 2034 or 2038.

IOC member Octavian Morariu, chair of the IOC Future Host Commission for Winter Games, said the IOC has been in dialogue with “a number of interested parties” for the last two years and specifically named those three cities.

All cities previously expressed various levels of interest in bidding, either for 2026 (which was awarded to Italy’s Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo over Sweden’s Stockholm-Are on June 24) or for 2030. Olympic host cities have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years beforehand, though that timeline can be shortened under recent reforms.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in December 2018 that if it bids for the 2030 Winter Games, it will be with Salt Lake City. The Utah capital was the last U.S. host for the Winter Olympics in 2002. The U.S. hasn’t put forth a formal Winter Games bid since. Morariu said Salt Lake City would use 100 percent existing venues.

Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Games, took part in the dialogue stage for the 2026 bid race before withdrawing in 2018 to focus on 2030. IOC president Thomas Bach was asked about Sapporo’s interest in 2030 on Thursday and said there’s no doubt it could organize an “excellent” Winter Games. Morariu said Sapporo, which will hold the 2020 Olympic marathons and race walks, would use 92 percent existing venues.

The IOC labeled the third interested party as “Pyrenees-Barcelona.” Morariu said sliding sports and ski jumping would be held outside Spain, as the nation does not have existing venues for those sports. Morariu also said Spain’s Olympic Committee still has to finalize its wish to enter into dialogue with the IOC.

Lillehammer, Norway, the 1994 Winter Olympic host, was reportedly planning a 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympic bid as recently as 2018, but was not mentioned by Morariu.

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