SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) - It's crunch time in the effort to bring the Winter Olympics back to Utah.
On Monday, the Olympic Exploratory Committee held a meeting at the University of Utah where they updated the effort to get the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games.
Committee Co-Chairman Fraser Bullock led a one hour discussion about the budget and the vision for another Utah Olympics.
"Why Utah? Why does it make sense to bring the Games back here?" Bullock said to introduce one section of the Committee's 67 page draft proposal.
Committee member Jeff Robbins, CEO of the Utah Sports Commission, says because 2002 was such a smashing success.
"Over $6 billion from the Games in 2002 to our economy. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of brand awareness and promotion," Robbins told News4Utah. "So there's a number of items that I think hopefully get our citizens and our public enthused about another games."
Robbins says hosting the '02 Games gives Salt Lake City a big advantage in experience and in venues, like the Utah Olympic Park which continues to operate.
It's where 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace got her start in the sport of skeleton.
"I've traveled the world for the sport of skeleton and with bobsledding and luge and there are many venues that have shut down soon after the games and it becomes a ghost town," Pikus-Pace said Monday. "Here in Utah it's still so much alive and we're hosting World Cups, World Championships which is really a remarkable feat 16 years later."
The Committee is approaching the homestretch of the process. The deadline to bid is March 31st. That's the date the U.S. Olympic Committee will decide which city it will submit as a potential host to the International Olympic Committee,
"We are ready willing and able and there are many people here who are supportive," Bullock said. "They want to see the data. They want to see the report which is fair but everything is pointing very positively at this point....By 2030 it will have been 28 years. We have a new generation of people that can experience the Olympics. We can refamiliarize the entire world with this great state of Utah. It's time to do it again."
The Exploratory Committee has until February 1st to submit their proposal to the USOC. The estimated budget for hosting the games is $1.6 billion.
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