KEARNS, UTAH (February 8, 2012) – On the 10th anniversary of the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert joined other Utah officials and Olympians - including speedskating Olympians Dr. Eric Heiden, Catherine Raney-Norman, Derek Parra, Ann Driscoll Pearson and Katherine Reutter - to announce the formation of an exploratory committee to consider a bid for the 2022 or 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“Ten years ago, Utah “Lit the Fire Within,” and today that flame still burns bright,” Governor Herbert said amid the backdrop of the Utah Olympic Oval, the 2002 venue for long track speedskating. “This talented committee will thoughtfully and carefully consider whether we should officially submit Salt Lake city to be considered to host future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
“The Governor did a great job of saying that we know as a state that we are capable of hosting a Games,” said Raney-Norman, a 4-time Olympian. “ We’ve done it, we’ve been successful, but as a committee, we are going to sit down and look at the options and see if it’s something we should do,” she added.
“Imagine, the kids that you see here today at the Oval, and training up in Park City, being on the world stage competing in sport,” added Parra
Co-chaired by Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, and Utah Sports Commission Chair Steven Price, the exploratory committee will examine specific criteria, including budget and financing, transportation, environment, venues, potential competitors, public support, and economic impact. The committee plans to take three to four months to complete its review.
Should the exploratory committee recommend pursuit of the 2022 Games, Salt Lake City has limited time to become the U.S. nominee. As soon as 2013, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) may chose to officially submit a candidate city to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC will then select the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in 2015.
“Utah’s world class venues are heavily utilized today by athletes of all ages and skill levels, including elite athletes,” said Heiden, a five-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in speedskating. “In fact, 40% of the U.S. Olympians that competed in Vancouver in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games train in Utah. These venues are a significant advantage in a potential bid.”
Please follow the following link to visit with Olympians Derek Parra, Ann Driscoll Pearson and Catherine Raney-Norman as they discuss today’s announcement.