Salt Lake City set to announce Monday whether they will bid again for Winter Olympics

Sunday, 02 December 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Salt Lake City Olympics 2002December 2 - Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker are due to announce tomorrow whether they plan to bid again for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

An Exploratory Committee had been set-up by Herbert in February to consider the possibility of Salt Lake City trying to host the Games again following the success of 2002. 

Their findings were released to Herbert and Becker in October, with the recommendation that Salt Lake City should try to launch a campaign for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

It is estimated the 2002 Games brought $4.8 billion (£2.9 billion/€3.7 billion) into Utah's economy and an additional $1 billion (£624 million/€770 million) to Olympic venues in the decade that has followed the Games.

But even if Herbert and Becker give the go-ahead to a bid they must first convince the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to back it.

A five-person bid working group set up by the USOC in August is currently investigating whether America should put itself forward for the 2024 Summer Games or 2026 Winter Games.

It is due to reveal its findings at their quarterly meeting later this month but it is widely expected that they will prioritise bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics over the Winter Games. 

Lasse Kjus Ogden Salt Lake City 2002Salt Lake City 2002 overcame the stigma of the bribery scandal to become one of the most successful Winter Olympics in history

Another potential hurdle to a successul bid from the Salt Lake City is that its successful bid for 2002 was marred by the biggest corruption scandal in the Olympics history.

Salt Lake City officials gave more $1 million (£620,000/€770,000) in favours and gifts to ensure that their fifth bid to host the Games was successful.

Among the things they offered were cash, college tuition, medical-care payments, jobs, lodging, beds and bedding, bathroom fixtures, Indian rugs, draperies, doorknobs, dogs, leather boots and belts, perfume, Nintendo games, Lego toys, shotguns, a violin, and trips to ski resorts, a holiday in Las Vegas, and a Super Bowl in Miami.

When the scandal was uncovered, in 1998, it led to 10 IOC members being expelled or having to resign and a major change in how the bid process was operated. 

But the Games themselves were considered a huge success, being watched by more than two billion television viewers around the world and leaving Salt Lake City with a profit of $40 million (£25 million/€31 million).

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