There’s no guarantee 2030, 2034 Winter Games will be awarded together, IOC leader says. Here’s why Utah bidders are still optimistic
Salt Lake City has the only 2034 bid, while 3 others — Sweden, Switzerland and France — are vying to host in 2030
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach raised the possibility Monday that there still could not be a dual award of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games, even though Salt Lake City has been identified as the only bidder for 2034.
Asked during a news conference about Salt Lake City’s chances of hosting another Olympics, Bach declined to speculate and said the sites for both Winter Games may not end up being selected at the same time despite action by the IOC at meetings in India.
The IOC’s Future Host Commission simply “wanted to have a green light in case all other conditions are being met. That’s all I can say. It’s not that the decision yesterday decided there will be (a dual award). The decision was that there could be one,” he said.
Whether that happens, Bach said, is in the hands of the commission, charged with recommending in the coming weeks which bids IOC leaders should advance to the contract negotiation stage of the selection process, known as targeted dialogue.
Three countries are backing bids for 2030 — Sweden, Switzerland and France. Salt Lake City is bidding for 2030 and 2034, with a preference for the later Winter Games to avoid competing for domestic sponsors with the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games that’s behind the bid, said Bach’s statements to media at the IOC’s final news conference in India are nothing new.
“I don’t think there’s any significant change in messaging,” Bullock said, adding there was no guarantee of a dual award, “so I don’t think people should overreact either way. It just is what it is. The possibility is there.”
Still, he said even the potential of a dual award “is a big step forward and it makes us more optimistic for a Games award. Nothing is certain, for sure. But we are very pleased with the direction things are going.”
Robert Livingstone, the Toronto-based producer of the GamesBids.com website, said he believes the IOC has already settled on Salt Lake City for 2034 but is waiting to make sure one of the three bids for 2030 pans out.
“It’s clear to me that’s their intention, that they’ve made their decision that they’re going to elect Salt Lake City for 2034. I think that’s abundantly clear. They’re putting all of the pieces in place,” Livingstone told the Deseret News.
“It’s almost like it can’t not happen,” he said. “I think they’re confident now that they have three decent candidates for 2030. The only thing that could derail here is if they lose all those three candidates.”
The chances of that appear to be slim, since the three 2030 contenders are eager to host.
Sweden, a runner-up for the 2026 Winter Games that went to Milan-Cortina, Italy, has been called a front-runner. Switzerland has new polling showing public support. France, already hosting the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, jumped in the race this summer.
Livingstone said he thinks Bach “walked back” expectations for Salt Lake City Monday because under the IOC’s new, less formal bid process, “it’s not a done deal until it’s a done deal. But to me, it’s a done deal.”
The three countries vying for 2030 — Sweden, Switzerland and France — are all latecomers to the bid process, entering the race after IOC leaders delayed making a choice last December between Salt Lake City; Sapporo, Japan; and Vancouver, Canada.
The Japanese and Canadian bids, which were already struggling then to secure needed support, are no longer in the running. Salt Lake City, the host of the 2002 Winter Games, has been trying for another Olympics for more than a decade.
Bullock said the bid committee’s job now “is to meet our side of the conditions, which is to provide a great bid, all the guarantees, etc.,” referring to the massive amount of paperwork required by the IOC for cities in targeted dialogue.
Salt Lake City’s bid has already lined up all the needed local, state and federal guarantees, including a pledge by the Utah Legislature that the state will take ultimate financial responsibility for the privately funded event expected to cost more than $2.2 billion.
The IOC Executive Board is expected to advance bidders for 2030 and 2034 to targeted dialogue when members meet again Nov. 28-Dec. 1, with a final vote on the sites by the full membership set for just before next year’s Summer Games begin in Paris.