Salt Lake the best Winter Olympic host choice

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2014 Olympic medalists Elana Meyers and Aja Evans in last December's bobsled World Cup at the Utah Olympic Park.

2014 Olympic medalists Elana Meyers and Aja Evans in last December's bobsled World Cup at the Utah Olympic Park. (Jim Urquhart / USA Today Sports / December 7, 2013)

All the worries that strait-laced Salt Lake would be a no-fun 2002 Olympic host were groundless.

Partly because the Main Media Center was in the heart of downtown, there was constantly life on the streets.  Thanks to gracious cooperation from Mormon leaders, church property became a temporary Olympic medals plaza / concert venue downtown – the first time a Winter Olympic host city had that kind of lively attraction.

Some IOC members resent Salt Lake City for having been the epicenter of the Olympic bid city bribes-for-votes scandal in which nearly three dozen members were implicated, a dozen shown to be thieving petty potentates.

In fact, Salt Lake was only the place where that cesspool happened to bubble to the surface and was thoroughly exposed by what much of the world sees as a peculiar U.S. commitment to truth and transparency.  The bribery had gone on for years before the 1995 IOC vote that gave the Winter Games to Utah – and likely still is.

The U.S. Olympic Committee chose not to have a candidate in the 2022 race and is concentrating its efforts on finding a bid city for the 2024 Summer Games.   The USOC’s chances of picking a winner are decreased by the publically expressed disinterest – to date – of New York, San Francisco and Chicago, leaving two-time host Los Angeles as the only seemingly viable candidate.

The U.S. would have a better shot with a 2026 winter bid.

The likely IOC resistance to Salt Lake is why I wrote three years ago that Denver and its region had the strongest case for a U.S. winter bid.

That might still be true, but the Colorado costs would be so enormous that there is no doubt Salt Lake is the best choice - if only to make the IOC look like fools by rejecting it.

Or, given that this is the IOC we are talking about, more like fools.

 

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