SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Salt Lake City has been selected as a potential candidate to host the 2030 Winter Olympics, eliminating Denver from the bid to host the games for that year and beyond.
“I’d like to thank Denver and Salt Lake City, and their respective leadership teams, for participating in this process and their commitment to make the Olympic and Paralympic movements stronger,” said United States Olympic Committee Chair Larry Probst in an announcement released Friday afternoon. “We’re incredibly lucky to have multiple able and willing cities to choose from, but in the end, we believe Salt Lake City will give us the best chance to return the winter Games to the U.S.”
Members of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) visited Denver back in November to meet with local officials as Denver and the state of Colorado explored the idea of hosting the games sometime in the future. At the time, local officials insisted any Winter Games hosted in Colorado wouldn’t use taxpayer funds but would instead rely on private funds and be backed by insurance to mitigate risks and cost overruns organized in a way that would limit environmental impact and voted on by Colorado residents, among other stipulations.
In the statement release Friday, USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said they believed Salt Lake City “is the community most capable” for the Games.
From their part, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Buskupski said they were truly humbled to be the choice for the bid and were looking forward “to showing the international community how Salt Lake City is ready, willing, and able to host a modern, sustainable, and athlete focused Games which further the spirit of sport and the Olympic and Paralympic movements.”
In a statement sent to Denver7, Rob Cohen, the chair of the Denver and Colorado Winter Games Exploratory Committee, said they proposed hosting the Games in a new and innovative way, the Colorado way, as he put it, “but we recognize that now may not be the right time for such a model.” He continued:
It is disappointing that one of the world’s great winter sports destinations will not have the opportunity to partner with the USOC on a future bid, ... Yet I believe that our community is better for having gone through this process as we continue to look forward and pursue opportunities to showcase our great city and state on the world stage.
In a statement obtained by Denver7, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the state hosts world-class games every winter, adding that the "offer stands to some day share our venues with the rest of the world."