Salt Lake City civic leaders and athletes band together for possible bid to host Olympics again

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Olympic medalists Eric Heiden, Apolo Ohno, Shannon Bahrke, Derek Parra and Noelle Pikus-Pace are among the members of a large committee to prepare Salt Lake City and Utah for a possible bid for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics.

Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Games, is not yet officially in the running for the Games, but it will be the candidate if the U.S. bids.

The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games will be led by a couple of business leaders — retired Rocky Mountain Power president/CEO Cindy Crane is the chair, while Sorenson Capital managing director Fraser Bullock is the committee’s president/CEO. The vice chairs are leaders of Utah’s top sports organizations — Jeff Robbins of the Utah Sports Commission and Colin Hilton of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. 

All of the areas that have expressed interest in hosting the 2030 Games have hosted the Olympics in the past. The first official bid is 1972 Winter Olympic host Sapporo, Japan. Barcelona, which hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, is bidding to follow Beijing in hosting the Winter Olympics after hosting the Summer Games.

Salt Lake City may be at a disadvantage in bidding for the 2030 Olympics because Los Angeles is hosting the Summer Olympics two years prior. Continental rotation isn’t a certainty, though, with Asia hosting both the 2020 (Tokyo) and 2022 (Beijing) Olympics.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and recently elected Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall unveiled the committee Wednesday in the Utah State Capitol Building.

“This committee is an important next step for Utah, as the state of sport, to show that we continue to be ready, willing and able to play host to a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” Herbert said.

“We are ready to welcome the world again as a returning host of a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” Mendenhall said. “Our beautiful city has so much to offer our worldwide guests, including the added benefit of our existing Olympic facilities and infrastructure.”

Salt Lake City’s venues are still in consistent use. The Utah Olympic Oval is a popular World Cup stop, where the high altitude contributes to a lot of world records. Utah Olympic Park is an essential training spot for U.S. winter sports athletes, and its sliding track is frequently used for World Cup competitions.

The executive committee includes a current Olympian — short-track speedskater Maame Biney — along with retired speedskater Catherine Raney Norman and Paralympic skiing multimedalist Chris Waddell. The city’s pro teams are also represented by Steve Miller, son on longtime Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller, and Real Salt Lake/Utah Royals owner Dell Roy Hansen.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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