Several U.S. Cities Contemplating 2026 Olympic Bid

(ATR) Salt Lake City is not the only possibility for the 2026 Winter Games, say USOC officials.

(ATR) Salt Lake City is not the only city in the United States interested in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, according to leaders of the United States Olympic Committee.

The USOC is fresh off its campaign to bring the Summer Games back to Los Angeles in 2028 and has yet to begin the process of evaluating cities for a potential 2026 bid. However, several winter sports hubs have indicated their interest to the USOC thus far.

"We haven’t devised any kind of domestic process for considering that, but there have been a number of cities that have expressed interest to us," says USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun.

"Not only Salt Lake City, but Denver, [Colorado] and Reno-Tahoe, [Nevada] and others."

Both Blackmun and USOC chairman Larry Probst support bringing the Winter Olympics back to the U.S., but it’s unclear if the USOC would push for 2026 after garnering the 2028 Summer Games.

"We are definitely interested in hosting the Winter Games in the United States at some point in time," Probst said at the opening press conference of the Team USA Media Summit in Park City, Utah. "As Scott said, our board needs to meet and talk about whether that’s ‘26 or ‘30 and what city that might be."

"I’d add that we were bidding for the Summer Games since 2003 and it’s been like 15 days since we’ve won an Olympics so there might be a little more time until we come to that point," USOC chief external affairs officer Patrick Sandusky jested.

The USOC leaders also want to monitor the progress of European cities that are contemplating a bid for the 2026 Games.

"I think [IOC president] Thomas Bach has publicly stated that he would like to see the Winter Games to return to a more traditional location, for me that’s code for Europe or North America," said Probst. "So we will have to see what happens with the bids from places like Innsbruck and Sion. Calgary has talked about potentially being interested. Stockholm is potentially interested.

"So we’ll have to monitor that, see what the situation looks like and develop our strategy for whether we’ll bid for the next Winter Games or longer than that."

Despite a trio of interested cities, a U.S. bid for 2026 will hinge on the marketing plans of LA 2028.

"If you look at our marketing joint venture with Los Angeles, it goes through the end of 2028," said Blackmun. "It would be more difficult for us to bid for 2026 and we wouldn’t go forward with a 2026 bid unless it was something that Casey [Wasserman] and Gene [Sykes] and the team from LA were comfortable wasn’t going to impact their ability to market and promote the 2028 Games.

"It’s a decision we will take with close consultation and partnership with LA 2028."

The USOC will begin holding bid discussions for 2026 at its upcoming Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 13. The IOC’s one-year invitation phase for the 2026 Games will have opened by then and the USOC officials will have a better understanding of which cities from across the globe will likely be running.

"I think there will be a few very high quality locations that are in the mix for 2026," Probst concluded.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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