To win the bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City will have to be so much stronger than the other cities that there clearly is no other choice.

Otherwise, members of the International Olympic Committee probably will decide to send the Games elsewhere in light of the decision to put the '96 Summer Games in Atlanta.That was the opinion of Agustin Carlos Arroyo, an Ecuadoran member of the IOC who visited Salt Lake City on Friday.

"They're going to say, `Everything is in the United States,' " Arroyo said, referring to the way other IOC members might react to the thought of giving Salt Lake City the Winter Games in 1998, two years after Atlanta hosts the Summer Games. "That is a handicap. Suppose Salt Lake City and Ostersund (Sweden) were judged in other ways to be exactly the same. They (IOC members) would say that Sweden has tried six times and has never been given the Games.

"What I would recommend is that Salt Lake City prepare itself the best it can."

But Arroyo, the 18th IOC member to visit Utah, said Salt Lake City has many advantages over other cities bidding for the Games. He mentioned the city's proximity to venues and the quality of facilities athletes will use at the University of Utah.

But the biggest advantage, he said, is the way Utahns seem to be united in their desire to host the Games. He described meeting a hotel porter and an elderly lady, both of whom told him they want Salt Lake City to host the Games.

"No one's going to go to a city where they're not wanted," he said.

"That is one area in which you have a great advantage."

The IOC will decide where to put the 1998 Games games when it meets in Birmingham, England in June.