Before votes were even tallied in Tuesday's Olympics referendum that handed pro-Olympics forces a modest victory, Utah Olympics organizers already were taking the state's 1998 Winter Olympics bid into the international arena.
Utah's Olympics boss Tom Welch spent little time basking in the warmth of Tuesday's 57 percent to 43 percent victory before he and a delegation of organizers were en route to meet with Olympics officials."The glory of the evening was short-lived, and now we're back to work," Welch, chief executive officer of the Salt Lake Winter Games Organizing Committee, said before he boarded a plane for an Olympics meeting in Mexico City.
While weekend polls showed support for the Olympics near 70 percent, Olympics backers were able to muster a 14 percent edge over Olympics opponents, a narrower margin than many Olympics backers had hoped for.
But state and Olympics officials said the state's showing, backed by a strong statewide voter turnout that topped 40 percent along the Wasatch Front, was more than sufficient to move forward with the state's Olympics aspirations.
"I hope that everyone in this state will remember that we live in a democracy . . . and when we have judgment day we accept the will of the people regardless of what the margin will be," Gov. Norm Bangerter told Olympics backers at a downtown Salt Lake hotel.
Bangerter said that next week he expects to begin considering appointments to the Utah Sports Authority Board, the newly formed state agency that will build Olympics facilities.
"I think that it's a positive win," Welch said of the results. "I think it will be looked at that way from the U.S. Olympic Committee's standpoint and the International Olympic Committee's standpoint."
The IOC will choose a 1998 Winter Olympics host city during a meeting in Birmingham, England, in 1991.
Jim Jardine, chairman of the pro-Olympics referendum group, expressed concern the vote margin could have a local effect on the city's Olympics movement.
"I would be disappointed if some people say that because it wasn't a wider margin, they're entitled to throw rocks and engage in guerrilla warfare instead of trying to help us from the inside," he said.
Olympics opponents, meanwhile, who gathered at the home of Olympics critic Alexis Kelner pledged they will continue their vigilance over Utah's Olympics process and monitor myriad promises made by organizers.
"Let me make it clear that we are not going to do any monkey-wrenching as long as they live up to the parameters of their promises," said Kelner, chairman of Utahns for Responsible Public Spending.
But if promises are broken, Kelner said his group, Utahns for Responsible Public Spending, will step up pressure on the Olympic movement and contemplate an initiative drive to bring the Olympics back to a vote.
Kelner prepared a list of 28 promises that he said the group would monitor. It was topped by pledges to keep Olympics venues from Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, a prohibition against new taxes for the Games and a promise not to exceed the $56 million in sales tax set aside for the Games.
Welch welcomed scrutiny of the state's Olympics process. "We hope that our opposition will be part of the solution," he said.
Kelner's group claimed a partial victory in Tuesday's polling, saying they were successful in alerting Utahns to several environmental and fiscal issues being glossed over by pro-Olympians.
"These guys tried to sell this like a liquidation sale and it didn't sell very well," said Steve Pace, of Utahns for Responsible Public Spending.
Pointing to the disparate 14-point margin compared to investments made by pro- and anti-Olympics forces, John Hawkins of Utahns for Responsible Public Spending said, "We spent $4,000, they spent $300,000."
Welch and two other organizing committee members will spend two days this week in Mexico City pushing the state's Olympics bid at a meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Welch will be holding talks with IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch at the meeting.
Utah's IOC bid strategy will be one of explaining to the IOC a two-decade-old mission to bring the Games to Utah, according to Welch. Gov. Calvin L. Rampton in 1965 announced Utah's intentions to bid for the 1972 Games.
"We're going to talk about a community involved in the pursuit of the Olympics since the '60s," he said.
While Welch continues the IOC bid, Bangerter will begin staffing the Utah Sports Authority board, the 15-member body that will determine how $56 million in public money will be spent to build a bobsled-luge run, speed-skating rink and ski jumps.
"Right now it's all rah, rah, rah," said Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras, author of the bill establishing the sports authority, "but somebody needs to sit back . . . and make fiscal sense of it all."