Winter Olympic host cities for 2030 and 2034 to be chosen in July; Salt Lake City a strong contender

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach speaks on the first day of the executive board meeting of the IOC ahead of the upcoming 141st IOC session in Mumbai, India, Oct. 12, 2023 | Associated Press Photo by Rafiq Maqbool, St. George News

Citing concerns about the effects of climate change, the International Olympic Committee said Friday it wants to pick two Winter Olympic host cities in July — putting Salt Lake City quickly into play for the 2034 edition.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the Olympic body aims to confirm hosts for both the 2030 and 2034 Winter Games at its meeting on the eve of next year’s Paris Olympics.

Sweden, Switzerland and France have been working on possible bids for the 2030 edition and Salt Lake City officials have long targeted 2034. That would avoid the United States hosting back-to-back Olympics after the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.

Picking Salt Lake City a decade in advance would give the IOC a trusted partner amid changing weather patterns and also could keep together people who have worked toward bringing the Olympics back the city that hosted the 2002 Games.

The double award proposal by the IOC executive board still needs approval by the full membership at the Olympic body’s annual meeting, which opens Sunday in Mumbai, India. That should be a formality.

In this file photo, a Chinese athlete warms up before the start of the men’s speedskating 1,500-meter race at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing, Feb. 8, 2022 | Photo by Ashley Landis, The Associated Press, St. George News

The IOC has declining options for Winter Games hosts. Bach noted that only 15 countries on three continents currently meet the criteria of having at least 80% of existing venues for snow sports and a “climate-reliable” outlook to host events in future decades.

“We need to address very quickly this dramatic impact of climate change on winter sport,” Bach said in Mumbai. “By 2040, there remain practically just 10 NOCs who could host these snow events.”

A likely longer-term project for the IOC is deciding on a rotation policy of a small pool of regular Winter Games hosts.

The next deadline for the 2030 and 2034 Olympics will come Nov. 28-Dec. 1 at a board meeting in Paris. A single preferred candidate for each is expected to be chosen and then would enter into exclusive negotiations with the IOC.

That is the new process for selecting Olympic host cities and regions, avoiding the once-traditional campaigns and votes which were at risk of vote-buying schemes.

The Japanese city of Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Games, was once favored for the 2030 edition. That bid was officially dropped this week in fallout from criminal investigations and convictions for corruption tied to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Written by GRAHAM DUNBAR, Associated Press Sports Writer.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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