Austrian International Olympic Committee member Karl Stoss, in Utah to lead “a deep dive” into plans for a 2034 Winter Games, wasn’t ready to say Wednesday that another Olympics in the state is a done deal.

“But we have a very good feeling,” a smiling Stoss told reporters after he and other members of the IOC’s Future Host Commission heard a presentation on the sixth floor of the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium tower that focused on what another Games would mean for the state.

“We could see and feel the enthusiasm and spirit of Utah,” Stoss, the commission’s chairman, said, citing the legacy of Salt Lake City hosting the 2002 Winter Games along with what he called “one of the most important things for the IOC,” the “world-class” venues that remain in place for another Olympics, like the stadium used for opening and closing ceremonies in 2002.

“It’s perfect,” Stoss later declared to reporters after touring the football stadium, expanded to more than 51,000 seats since 2002. And the ride from the campus to the Delta Center on a reserved TRAX train that didn’t stop to pick up other passengers or require a transfer? “Great,” Stoss said, “much better” than what was available in 2002.

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The commission, which includes top sports officials as well as IOC members, is in Utah through Saturday along with executives and staff from the Switzerland-based organization. They are scheduled to visit all of the venues and discuss details about hosting, including the price tag, recently increased to $2.45 billion, all from private sources.

Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games that’s behind the bid, also was enthusiastic about the chances of getting the 2034 Games, holding his hand high above his head when asked by reporters to rate his level of confidence.

Salt Lake City is the IOC’s preferred host for 2034, and a vote by the full membership is expected on July 24, celebrated as Pioneer Day in Utah. Before that happens, however, the commission will report to IOC leaders in June about Utah’s readiness and it will be up to them to make a recommendation for 2034.

“I really don’t have concerns. It’s like I’m a young kid with a shiny new toy and I want to show it off to the world,” Bullock said of the visit. “I’m just so excited and so happy they’re here. We’ve been working for years for this day. And here we are, and we get to show off Utah and its great people.”

At the first event open to the media since their arrival late Tuesday, state and local leaders offered some personal accounts of the impact of welcoming the world some 22 years ago to the IOC delegation, which wore matching blue track jackets emblazoned with the five Olympic rings.

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“This is who we are,” an emotional Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said, calling another Olympics an opportunity “to inspire the next generation.”

Henderson, who said she has never seen an Olympics event in person, recalled hosting a party in her home during the 2002 Opening Ceremonies that was interrupted by a pregnant friend going into labor. She said watching the figure skating competitions helped inspire a daughter who’d been discouraged by the sport to land an axel jump at age 7.

“This is what the Olympics means to all of us. We all have a personal story. I’m not a good athlete, but sports teaches us things you cannot learn any other way,” the lieutenant governor said. “Utah is prepared. The Olympics is as much a part of who we are as anything else in our state.”

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said every time she visits Utah, someone approaches her to share a story about the 2002 Games. Many Utahns still proudly sport 2002 Olympic jackets, hats and other gear, the Colorado Springs-based official said, labeling the state one of the biggest supporters of Team USA.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall emphasized how much has changed in Utah in the past two decades, describing a rising skyline with more restaurants, bars and breweries downtown as the population continues to increase, and efforts aimed at renewable energy and LGBTQ+ rights advocacy.

The mayor said support for the Olympics “supersedes politics,” bringing together Democrats like her with the Republican leaders of the state, including Henderson and Gov. Spencer Cox and the Utah Legislature’s GOP supermajority, an “example of the secret sauce, we call it, where we come together to do hard things.”

Steve Starks, the governor’s Olympic adviser and the CEO of the Larry H. Miller Co., welcomed the IOC delegation on behalf of the business community, promising they’ll see “how united we are from the businesses to the private sector to the public sector.”

Many downtown buildings are being illuminated in golden lighting during the IOC visit to showcase that support, the Salt Lake Chamber said. A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll in February 2023 found that more than 80% of Utahns backed the Winter Games bid.

The youngest member of IOC, Samira Asghari of Afghanistan, was only about 10 years old in 2002. As a member of the Future Host Commission, Asghari said not only does she see Utah’s readiness to host again, she’s also “really happy that everything Utah and the committee is doing is aligned with what the public and the people want, and especially focusing on the youth.”

Thursday, members of the delegation will participate in an invitation-only community forum downtown before heading to the Utah Olympic Park near Park City, the Park City Mountain Resort, the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center near Midway, and other venues. Friday, they’ll continue their tour and on Saturday, hold a news conference.