Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee president, shrugged slightly Friday before answering a question about the decision to send the Salt Lake City-Utah bid to host the 2034 Winter Games to a final vote in July.

“With regard to Salt Lake 2034, I have good news and bad news for you,” the German leader told the Deseret News during a virtual news briefing on the final day of this week’s IOC Executive Board meetings in Switzerland.

“The bad news being that there was not a single question about the candidature after the presentation. And the good news being that there was not a single question after the presentation,” he said, smiling broadly.

Utah is now one vote away from hosting the 2034 Winter Games. Here’s what just happened
2030/2034 Olympic Winter Games bid timeline

Bach said the IOC leaders heard “extremely convincing documentation,” about Utah’s plans to host another Olympics after being the site of the 2002 Winter Games. On Wednesday, the IOC’s Future Host Commission reported its findings from an April visit to Utah.

That included the public and political support in Utah for the bid, something the IOC delegation members repeatedly pointed out during their time in the state. A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found 79% of Utahns want the 2034 Winter Games.

“They’re looking then at the public support, around 80%,” Bach said, noting the high number that’s remained consistent over several years is not the norm in a country that’s become deeply divided politically.

“Bipartisan support,” he said, “at this time in the United States does not go without saying. I would not have in mind many projects which are supported bipartisanly at this moment. All this made it a very easy decision.”

Wednesday’s action by IOC leaders means the full membership will take a final vote to ratify Utah as the 2034 host during this year’s annual session being held in Paris ahead of the 2024 Summer Games. The vote is scheduled for July 24, celebrated as Pioneer Day in Utah.

Salt Lake City-Utah was named the IOC’s sole preferred host for 2034 late last year under the new, less formal process being used for the first time to select the site of a Winter Games. France’s French Alps bid to host the 2030 Winter Games was granted the same status.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tells lawmakers there’s ‘unparalleled’ public, political support for hosting the 2034 Winter Games

But unlike Utah’s bid, France’s had been put “on hold” pending the outcome of that country’s newly called national elections with a final round of voting on July 7. In a surprising move, French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the country’s parliament and set an election following far-right victories in Sunday’s European Parliament vote.

The IOC still needs financial guarantees from the French national and regional governments for a 2030 Winter Games. For Utah’s bid, that guarantee will come from the state, although the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games released an entirely privately funded $2.83 billion budget this week.


“We are not concerned for good reason,” Bach told reporters when asked about France’s upcoming election, citing what he sees as “the unity among the political parties” when it comes to the Olympics, something he said he experienced in Paris earlier this week..

“There is a constitutional process that will be followed which prevent the government from issuing these guarantees,” the IOC president said of the French vote, describing the situation as “just a legal issue. And all indications are in the right way, that they will be delivered very soon after the final round of the elections.”

Bach declined to weigh in on what the impact would be on the Paris Games if France backs the anti-immigration policies of the far right that have previously been rejected at the ballot box, saying the IOC would respect the outcome of the election.

“It’s athletes who participate in the Olympic Games,” not governments, he said, adding, “who are we to put a democratic election in a democratic country with hundreds of years of democratic history into question? This is up to the French people to elect their government.”

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