The leader of Utah’s bid for the 2034 Winter Games wore a suit and tie for Wednesday’s virtual presentation to around 100 members of the International Olympic Committee but said he tried to be funny at the start of what was billed as a technical meeting.

Showing a photo of the IOC’s Future Host Commission standing atop a Snowbasin ski run during their venue tour in April, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games President and CEO Fraser Bullock said he was tempted to ask the commission’s chairman, Austrian IOC member Karl Stoss, to race down the mountain.

But Bullock joked that he’d “probably lose,” given that Stoss comes from a country that’s a skiing powerhouse. At the end of the meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach said he needed to make a correction to the bid team’s presentation, then told Bullock he would “absolutely lose” in a ski race with Stoss.

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The moment, Bullock told reporters later Wednesdy, reflects the “warmth and collaboration we have with our friends at the IOC.” He said the presentation, the first made to the full membership of the IOC, was “very positive” and reinforced plans for another Olympics in Utah, following the 2002 Winter Games.

Joining Bullock for a 31-minute closed-door presentation followed by a few questions were Gov. Spencer Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Chair Gene Sykes and other key members of the bid team, all of of whom are set to be in Paris for the IOC’s final decision.

There, the governor, major and other bid officials will make another presentation to the IOC on July 24. Then IOC members will vote on whether Utah should be the site of the 2034 Winter Games. Unlike Wednesday’s presentation, that one will made be in person and offer a more “aspirational” look at what Utah hopes to accomplish, Bullock said.

Although Utah is the only bid in the running for 2034 after being named the preferred host for those Winter Games late last year by IOC leaders under the new, less formal selection process, Bullock stressed nothing is being taken for granted.

“We are humble and hopeful. We believe we are in excellent shape but until the vote is taken, we are absolutely, 100% focused on every element of our bid and making sure we do the absolute best that we can,” he said.

However, he said celebrations are already being planned in Utah “anticipating a potentially favorable election.” That includes a pre-dawn gathering in downtown Salt Lake City on July 24, where Utahns camping out for the Pioneer Day parade will be able to watch the IOC vote.

Between now and then, Bullock said the bid team is busy working on the videos, slides and scripts for the final pitch to the IOC as well as finalizing some bid details such as the joint marketing agreement with the USOPC.

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Wednesday, IOC members heard about “the technical aspect of our Games bid. We reviewed each venue. We went through our history of hosting events. We covered our transportation plans, the accommodations plans, the governance model and our vision,” he said.

Asked about what the IOC members wanted to know about the bid, Bullock said he had to be careful about his answer since the meeting was private. But he said there was “a very positive question” about Utah’s proposal to provide the first housing for athlete families during the Games.

“They just wanted more depth about that. Everything we’ve heard from everybody is that they love this initiative,” Bullock said, adding that the recent announcement that the bobsled and skeleton world championships will be held in Utah in 2029 also came up during the questioning.


Calling the presentation a “big step forward,” he said “the bottom line is that we’re a great candidate for 2034 to host the world.”

Both the governor and mayor were also pleased with how Wednesday went.

“We’re very encouraged by the positive reception we received today and couldn’t be more excited for Paris,” Cox said in statement.

Mendenhall said in a statement she’s “feeling elated after today’s opportunity to prsent to the IOC. We’ve been prepared every step of the way, unifed and overwhelmingly supported by our residents. The next step in July is the one many of us have been waiting for -- the chance to be voted as the official host for the 2034 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, speaks at a press conference with the International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission, IOC and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic leaders during their visit to Salt Lake City to tour proposed venues for the 2034 Games at Edison House in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 13, 2024. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News
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