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Transparency key for Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympic bid

Chris Mazdzer of the United States during the Men's Singles Luge on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Officials behind a potential bid for Salt Lake City to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have pledged to make the process transparent and frugal.

Earlier this month, Salt Lake City and the state of Utah formed a committee to drive a proposed bid for either the 2030 or 2034 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It came after Salt Lake City was put forward as a candidate city by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) back in December 2018 ahead of a rival candidacy from Denver, Colorado. The newly-formed committee met for the first time this week as it looks to determine the feasibility of a bid for the 2030 or 2034 Games.

Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002. The event went ahead following a bribery scandal in the lead-up to the Games which alleged that International Olympic Committee (IOC) members had received gifts from Salt Lake City’s bid committee during the bidding process.

Following the scandal, which emerged three years after the city had been awarded the hosting rights, six IOC members were expelled and four resigned, although none faced criminal charges. The Associated Press notes that two members of the Salt Lake City bid also faced criminal charges, but were later acquitted halfway through a federal trial.

Cindy Crane, the chair of the newly-formed committee, has this week informed the bid team that every conversation should be considered public. Crane stressed that this was not a reference to the 2002 bribery scandal and is designed to establish ground rules for the new bid.

She said: “The strength of our operating principles are to make it very, very clear that those days are well behind us and not in our path forward.”

Sapporo in Japan is also lining up a bid for the 2030 Games and with Los Angeles hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics, signs could point to Salt Lake City favouring a bid for the 2034 event.

Meanwhile, IOC president Thomas Bach has insisted that the body is “fully committed” to staging this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo as planned amid continued concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The Olympics are due to take place from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympics to follow from August 25 to September 6.

Earlier this week, long-serving IOC member Dick Pound estimated that there is a three-month window to decide whether the Games will proceed as planned, indicating that a cancellation is more likely than a postponement should challenges provided by the coronavirus prove insurmountable.