A Salt Lake official is in Minneapolis this weekend in hopes of convincing the U.S. Olympic Committee to give Salt Lake City an opportunity at bidding to host the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Mike Zuhl, chief of staff for Mayor Palmer DePaulis, said he will be attending the meeting until Sunday, by which time the Olympic Committee will have decided who can bid for the winter games.City officials are confident that Salt Lake has a good chance of securing the U.S. bid for the games, which would allow Salt Lake to compete internationally to host the games.

Traditionally, the U.S. Olympics Committee backs the city that failed in its last bid for the games, in this case the 1994 Winter Olympics, Zuhl said. Anchorage failed at a U.S. bid for the games and is again considered a contender for the 1998 games.

But if the committee should permit other cities to bid against Anchorage, Salt Lake is considered a heavy favorite to represent the United States in the international competition, committee member Henry Marsh said.

Salt Lake must first out-compete Anchorage; Reno-Lake Tahoe, Nev., and Lake Placid, N.Y., before it can compete internationally for the games, which could bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the state.