SALT LAKE CITY — A resolution encouraging efforts underway to explore another Olympic bid for Salt Lake City was unanimously endorsed by a Senate committee Friday.
"This is a refresher," Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, told members of the Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee about his resolution, SCR9.
Lawmakers have previously made it clear Salt Lake City, the host of the 2002 Winter Games, is "ready, willing and able" to host another Olympics. Now, though, a bid may be imminent.
The Olympic Exploratory Committee, made up of elected officials, business leaders and athletes, is set to make a recommendation on bidding for the 2026 and 2030 Winter Games at a meeting scheduled for next Wednesday.
Niederhauser, a co-chairman of the Olympic group, told the Senate committee a bid for the earlier Olympics isn't likely unless "there’s no other city that could step up to the plate for 2026. They may be reaching out to Salt Lake."
That's because Los Angeles has already been named to host the 2028 Summer Games and has locked up domestic sponsorships, making a 2026 or even a 2030 bid by any U.S. city financially difficult.
The preliminary financial analysis by the Olympic group has shown that "even with that challenge we have a lot of buffer and can make these Games work probably better than anyone else in the world can," Niederhauser said.
He told the Senate committee the U.S. Olympic Committee will decide by March 31 whether to advance an American city for 2026. Not mentioned Friday were the other U.S. cities also considering bidding, Denver and the Reno-Tahoe area.
Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, was enthusiastic about her support for the resolution.
"I am way for this. I've seen the fruits in my area," she said, citing the Utah Olympic Oval speedskating facility in Kearns and other benefits from 2002. "It's a boon for us. It brought vitality to our neck of the woods."
Mayne said she believe Salt Lake City is prepared to make another Olympics "happen easily."