Salt Lake City Winter Olympic bid moves ahead with IOC meetings

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A Salt Lake City Winter Olympic bid will be the subject of meetings with the IOC in Utah in April and at the IOC base of Switzerland in June, according to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Salt Lake City is among the candidates to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics and is in a dialogue phase with the IOC, as are at least Sapporo, Japan, and Vancouver. The chair of the IOC Future Host Commission for Winter Games also said two years ago that Spain was interested in a potential Winter Olympic bid involving Barcelona and the Pyrenees.

“We would expect by the end of this year, [the candidate process] should be evolving, at least who the leading contenders are,” USOPC chair Susanne Lyons said Monday. “And we certainly hope and expect that Salt Lake City will be among them.”

Host cities have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games — which would mean 2023 for the 2030 Olympics — though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline.

The 2024, 2028 and 2032 Summer Games were not chosen the traditional way, but the 2026 Winter Games were awarded to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in 2019 in an IOC members vote.

“We don’t expect any decision to be made by the IOC until their general session, which will be next summer,” Lyons said.

In April, IOC technical committee members will visit Utah to look at the Salt Lake City technical plan and facilities. The Salt Lake City plan has called for using 100 percent existing venues, thanks in large part to hosting the 2002 Winter Games, the last time that the U.S. put forth a Winter Olympic bid.

In June, Lyons, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland and Salt Lake City organizers will travel to Switzerland for what Lyons called “a more robust presentation of the meat and bones” of the bid, “which is in very, very good shape,” she said.

In December 2018, the USOPC chose Salt Lake City over Denver for a potential Winter Olympic bid. Entering the IOC dialogue phase more than two years ago showed the USOPC’s commitment to pursuing the city’s candidature.

If successful, the U.S. could host consecutive Olympics, given the 2028 Summer Games were awarded to Los Angeles. No nation has hosted back-to-back Olympics since World War II.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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