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Report on Utah's Olympic readiness now due in September

Published: Friday, Aug. 17 2012 12:32 p.m. MDT

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert announces the formation of an exploratory committee to consider a bid for the 2022 or 2026 Olympics at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. A final report recommending whether Utah should bid again for a Winter Olympics is now expected to be made public in September.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News archives

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SALT LAKE CITY — A final report recommending whether Utah should bid again for a Winter Olympics is now expected to be made public next month.

The state's Olympic Exploratory Committee decided Friday no more meetings will likely be necessary to finalize the report being prepared for Gov. Gary Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, who serves as the lead co-chairman of the committee, said the report will spell out that any future Olympic bid will "go into sleep mode" until the U.S. Olympic Committee makes a decision about when to bid for a Winter Games.

In July, the USOC announced there would be no U.S. bid submitted for the next Winter Games to be awarded, in 2022. Both Denver and the Reno-Tahoe area were also looking at a 2022 Winter Games bid. 

Now the USOC won't make a decision until the end of the year whether to bid for the 2024 Summer Games or the 2026 Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee won't select the host of the 2026 Winter Games until 2019. 

Bell said the committee will release the report to the public when it is submitted to the governor and the mayor, likely in mid-September. The report will detail what it would take for Salt Lake City to bid for and host another Olympics, including the price tag.

Grant Thomas, the consultant hired by the committee to prepare the report, said among Salt Lake's strengths is that the facilities built for the 2002 Games are still being used by athletes, including the bobsled, luge and skeleton track near Park City.

"That's fairly unique," Thomas said, calling the continued venue use an important piece of any future bid. "It's not good for the IOC brand to have facilities that are not sustainable and not used after the Games." 

Thomas said it should take him only a few days to finalize the report. Originally, it was supposed to be in the hands of the governor and the mayor earlier this year. Herbert unveiled the committee in February, on the 10-year anniversary of the Olympics.

Becker noted there's no reason to rush. "I don't think we're under any particular time pressures now," the mayor said.

The committee will continue to meet occasionally, Bell said, likely beginning after the USOC determines its bid strategy. He said the committee will be keeping an eye on planned improvements to infrastructure and potential venues.

"We need to be able to respond to how would this impact an Olympic Games," Bell said. "Let us have a say."

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com

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