The International Olympic Committee has approved a dual award for the 2030 and 2034 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, another step toward the eventual return of the Games to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Future Host Commission Chair Karl Stoss’ presentation on Sunday specifically mentioned Salt Lake City as a candidate for 2034 with groups from France, Sweden and Switzerland all interested in 2030. The Future Host Commission will make formal recommendations to the IOC Executive Board, which meets November 30 through December 1, to consider interested parties for targeted dialogue that could lead to the double award being made at the IOC Session next July prior to the 2024 Paris Games.
“The decision by the IOC Session today puts Salt Lake City-Utah solidly on the road towards a potential award at the Paris Games next July,” said Fraser Bullock, president and chief executive officer of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. “Our strategy of staying ahead of the required steps in the process of obtaining venue and governmental guarantees at all levels has provided the IOC with an opportunity for a proven, reliable preferred host in Salt Lake City-Utah in 2034.”
The Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games has secured guarantees from all host venue communities and the state of Utah, as well as federal guarantees.
“We’ve reached this pivotal point in the process thanks to the remarkable partnerships that have been built including our political leaders at all levels, our host venue communities, our boards, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Utah Sports Commission, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the winter national governing bodies, the International Paralympic Committee and the IOC itself,” Bullock said Sunday.
Stoss also outlined the challenges posed by climate change following its study, details of which have been strategically released by the IOC without the full report yet being made public. After a question from Monaco’s Prince Albert II, Stoss says two American cities, eight European regions and five Asian countries are currently ready to host the Winter Games but that five of them would not be able to after 2040.
“Whilst we look forward to celebrating 100 years of the Olympic Winter Games next February, there is no doubt that we are facing great challenges, and our goal is to ensure we can continue to hold successful Games in the future,” Stoss said. “A double allocation would bring security for the Olympic movement in solid traditional winter sport and climate-reliable hosts until 2034, while allowing the IOC time to reflect on the long-term future of the Winter Games.”
Charter Changes Focus of Discussion
One complication is France could not be awarded the Games at a Session it is hosting under the rules of the Olympic Charter. IOC President Thomas Bach declined to elaborate on Friday on what this would mean if France is the preferred candidate for 2030.
For France to be awarded the Games at a Session in Paris, the IOC would have to change the charter — with another rule in the Charter coming into the spotlight on Sunday when Bach was urged by several members to change the statutes on term limits and seek four more years as president. Bach’s presidency is due to end in 2025, a 12-year maximum agreed in anti-corruption reforms passed after the Salt Lake City bid scandal broke in the 1990s.
“We really need to be able to rely on the leadership you have shown,” said IOC member Luis Mejia Oviedo of the Dominican Republic, in praise echoed by colleagues from Paraguay and Djibouti.
Bach neither encouraged nor dismissed the proposal though noted the presidential term limit is enshrined in the IOC’s book of rules and principles. Bach turns 70 in December, though as an IOC member since before the Salt Lake City reforms — he was elected in 1991, 32 years ago — he can stay until he turns 80.
“I cannot hide how that went straight to my heart,” Bach told IOC members of their support.
One IOC member has publicly spoken about a possible leadership bid: World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic champion in the 1,500 meters and head of the 2012 London Olympics organizing committee. Coe turns 70 in September 2026, the year his IOC membership should expire, and a 2025 election should be his only option.
Speculation on candidates to succeed Bach has included two of the IOC’s four vice presidents, Nicole Hoevertsz of Aruba and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. of Spain, plus Zimbabwe sports minister Kirsty Coventry. Samaranch’s father was IOC president for 21 years from 1980 until 2001. He was succeeded by Jacques Rogge of Belgium, who had the maximum 12 years allowed before Bach won a six-candidate contest in 2013 before being re-elected in 2021.