2002 - Utah Hosts The Winter Olympics
To celebrate EDCUtah's 30th anniversary, the 30 Years, 30 Highlights series details major milestones in Utah economic development.
In 2002, Utah hosted one of the most lucrative Olympics in history, seeing unprecedented economic yields for the state's economy. According to KSL.com, The Salt Lake Olympics yielded $100 million in profits, $4.8 billion in sales, 35,000 job-years of employment, and $1.5 billion in earnings for Utah workers during 2002.
EDCUtah CEO and President Theresa Foxley attributes the Olympics as a turning point for economic development in Utah.
“Utah’s brand recognition was enhanced through the Olympics. We became known as a community that could do hard things and do them well. Further, the investments to upgrade our transportation and transit systems pay dividends today as they are critical in moving people and goods throughout our economy,” said Foxley.
The 2002 Winter Olympics gave the rest of the world the chance to get to know Utah’s hardworking, highly educated, and friendly workforce that is estimated to speak over 100 languages. This quality workforce that was on full display for the duration of the Olympics was and continues to be a valuable asset to the state. Companies considering a move look for these very qualities in potential employees. The more opportunities Utah has to shine a spotlight on the talented and friendly workforce, the more companies are going to want to move to the state.
This past October, Governor Herbert formed the Olympic Exploratory Committee announcing that Utah was “ready, willing, and able” to host the Winter Olympics for a second time. With much of the infrastructure from the 2002 Games still being used by athletes today, much of the work to prepare for another Olympic Games would center on updating and sprucing up the existing infrastructure. Utah would like to bid for the 2030 Winter Games, but following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) dual awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics, to Paris and Los Angeles respectively, Utah plans to bid for 2026 if the IOC decides to continue this pattern.
Hosting the 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics would give Utah a chance to showcase itself on the global stage once again, and have a lasting, positive economic impact for the state.