Beijing recently was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics more by default than on merit. Other, more suitable venues, such as Oslo, Norway, dropped out of the running because of concerns over spiraling costs and unrealistic demands by the International Olympic Committee.

The Summer Games, too, are embroiled in controversy after an Associated Press investigation found that water at venues to be used in host city Rio De Janeiro contain levels of viruses and bacteria on par with raw sewage. The IOC seems little concerned and unwilling to do its own tests for viruses.

Many in Utah saw the recent withdrawal of Boston’s Olympic bid as a good opportunity for Salt Lake City to bid again to host the 2026 Winter Games. It’s true the Olympics will have been absent from the U.S. since the Salt Lake Games in 2002, making the timing ideal. It’s also true Olympic organizers here put on an incredibly successful show and that Salt Lake, with many of its venues still intact and up-to-date, would be an ideal choice.

We support the bid to host another games. We also, however, urge caution.

The 2002 Games cost $2 billion. Last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, cost $51 billion. That difference represents a lot more than inflation and was, many believe, tied to corruption.

When Oslo withdrew its 2022 bid, it was for cost concerns as well as for concerns about unrealistic IOC demands. The IOC presented Norway with 7,000 pages of requirements that included special lanes on highways dedicated only to IOC members, with traffic lights programmed to give them priority; the guarantee that the IOC would take control of all advertisements within the city, which would be used only for official Olympic sponsors; a separate entrance point at the airport for IOC members, along with 50 chauffeur-driven limousines available at all times; endless supplies of high quality food available for IOC members 24/7; and on and on.

Norway is a natural host for the games, given its climate, its mountains and its love for winter sports. But the demands were simply too much. Its withdrawal reduced the list of bidders to China and Kazakhstan.

At its best, the Olympic ideal represents a marvelous gathering of nations and athletes willing to set aside differences in the spirit of brotherhood and fair competition. Utahns who were here 13 years ago remember well how exciting and joyous the occasion could be. Many people long to experience such a thing again.

If Salt Lake organizers should win the bid for another games, they must insist on reducing costs to a level similar to that of ’02 and on controlling the IOC’s demands for excess, which would lead to a host of unnecessary expenditures. As in ’02, Utah taxpayers should be minimally exposed to the costs.

The Wasatch Front already has hosted a successful Olympics. It no longer comes to the bidding process as a venue hungry for exposure or anxious to prove itself. It could, in fact, be the one host most likely to rein in the runaway trajectory of excessive Olympic costs.

That shouldn’t be just an ancillary concern for those organizing the bid. It must be a non-negotiable demand. Given how disappointing the 2022 bidding process was, the IOC needs Salt Lake, just as it needs a shot in the arm of credibility.