Gov. Spencer Cox said the selection of an Olympic speed skater to take over from the committee tasked with bringing the Winter Games back to Utah underscores what the state has to offer the world in the race to welcome back in 2030 or 2034.
Catherine Raney Norman, who has competed in four Olympic Games, including the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, is the new chair of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. She replaces retired Rocky Mountain Power CEO Cindy Crane, who will be part of the bid group’s new executive committee.
âIt’s really about celebrating the athletes. It’s not about us, or our egos, or governors, mayors or anyone else, âCox said at his first committee meeting, which was held at the center Thursday. events from the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns.
“Plant these seeds for the next generation”
The governor recognized the Utahns’ ability to work together to maintain the Oval and other 2002 Winter Games venues which continue to be used for training and competition by athletes around the world, even though Olympic venues elsewhere have been closed.
âIt’s expensive. It’s tough. It takes a lot of collaboration to make these things work and that’s the special thing we have in Utah. It’s the thing we can never afford to lose. If we lose that, we’re like everyone else, âCox said.
The Utahns have the ability to come together and “sow those seeds for the next generation, and that is what we are doing here today,” he said, despite the great political divide in the country. âThis is what we have to show the world. We have to show the world that there is a better way, there is a different way.
Hosting other Winter Games would provide that opportunity, he said, calling the Olympics âthe only time we see ourselves as human beings, in the power of competition. And Utah is the one place where we know we can put our differences aside and do better, and that’s why we do what we do.
In addition to the new role of Raney Norman, who had previously served as Co-Chair of the Bid Group Athlete Advisory Committee, Steve Starks, CEO of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, was appointed Vice Chair as well as an unpaid Olympic Advisor. de Cox, who took office earlier this year.
New governor makes some changes
“We have a new governor who is stimulated by the potential for the return of the Olympics,” Starks told Deseret News, adding that with the “changes in political leadership, the assessment of the situation and the way of being As competitive as possible in the future, these changes seem like a natural move.
The changes also include the addition of 10 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to the committee, including downhill ski racers Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety, speed skater Apolo Ohno, figure skater and Salt Lake City native Nathan Chen and downhill skier. Paralympic Monte Meier.
Sparks said Cox was a “catalyst for being able to re-evaluate” the candidacy effort, as the committee’s new honorary head, joining Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Utah Senate Speaker Stuart Adams, R -Layton and Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville.
Now, the added focus on involving athletes âpositions us very competitively,â Starks said.
Salt Lake City was selected over two years ago to bid for future Winter Games by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, but it has still not been decided whether that will be for 2030 or 2034. Los Angeles is hosting the 2028 Summer Games, raising questions about sharing sponsorship revenue with another US city in 2030.
Susanne Lyons, chair of the board of directors of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, told the committee that the organization is focusing on the Summer Games which are due to start next month in Tokyo after being postponed for a year due to of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 Beijing Winter Games will follow early next year amid controversy over human rights violations in China.
Lyons said the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee which ultimately decides where the Games will take place did not specify when that will happen, but is “certainly well aware of our preparation, our will and our will to do so. ‘engage in dialogue as soon as they are. “
As part of a new IOC selection process, detailed talks are taking place with cities interested in hosting the Games to determine which ones should move forward. Utah bidders, who are already preparing required documents such as location and hotel agreements, face competition from Sapporo, Japan; Vancouver, Canada; and Barcelona, ââSpain, at this point.
Fraser Bullock, chairman and CEO of the bid group, announced that the bid’s budget will be $ 3.8 million and that $ 1.5 million has already been raised, including 250,000 each from Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and the Utah Sports Commission. Bullock said all funding came from private sources, not taxpayers.
He told the committee there were pros and cons for both 2030 and 2034, but waiting for those extra four years to accommodate could be difficult.
âIt would be nice for those of us who did that before bringing a lot of the next generation,â Bullock said. âWe would like to do this every 16 to 20 years. It’s not just around 2030 or ’34. It is perpetuity, a world capital of sport. We want to be on stage all the time. So some of us may be too old to do 2034. â
Raney Norman, who will be 41 later this month, retired from competition after the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Currently director of health advancement at the University of Utah, she has been involved in Utah’s efforts to win more Olympics since 2012.
âI am ready for this position because I represent the athletes and the athletes represent the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic movement,â she said at the meeting, defining success, in part, as achieving âall athletes, from leisure to elite âas well as to all communities.
âThere is a motto within the alumni community that applies to all of us – once Olympian, Paralympian, still Olympian, Paralympian. Never old, never past, âsaid Raney Norman. âAs an Olympic and Paralympic city and state, we are also forever linked to this movement. ”
His fellow Olympians welcomed one of their own at the helm of the bid.
âI think that’s really important,â said Brittany Bowe, an Olympic long track speed skater who trains on the oval and is expected to claim a medal in Beijing. “It shows how grateful we as athletes are that the Olympics are returning here to Salt Lake and how much that would mean to us, our community and the state of Utah.”