On the spot

 Erin Mendenhall

Mayor of Salt Lake City, United States of America

The World Union of Olympic Cities and its Members are really pleased to welcome Salt Lake City, host of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, as a new Member of the association. What do you expect from this membership?

I’m so excited to join this organization on behalf of Salt Lake City! Our team looks forward to connecting with more than 45 other Olympic cities around the world. The wealth of knowledge and experience contained in this organization is unmatched and will be a tremendous asset to us as we work towards the future. I also look forward to sharing stories and memories about our respective experiences hosting the Games. This is an exciting opportunity for us and we look forward to getting acquainted.

And how Olympism and Olympic values come as a value-add to strengthen messages on the importance of sport and physical activity?

Salt Lake City is a global city, with residents who have formed connections and love with countries and people from across the world. Olympism is part of that with so many of our residents having fond memories of our past Games, and the support which still exists today, 20 years after hosting in 2002. Now more than ever, I believe in the strength and passion of the Games. Sport unites people across the globe, and gives us a way to put aside our differences to marvel at what humans can do.

How is sport integrated in Salt Lake City’s policy as a tool for education, social inclusion, tourism, economic development?

Our reputation for being a welcoming and hospitable destination, along with our love for the outdoors and winter sports are part of our DNA.
Salt Lake City has a strong Olympic legacy, and 20 years later we continue to keep aflame the Olympic values of friendship, excellence, and respect. A significant portion of our economy is based on the love residents and visitors have for the outdoors. From Utah’s five national parks, to nine major ski resorts within an hour’s drive of downtown Salt Lake City, to being the home of numerous sports and outdoor companies and nonprofits, sport is a major part of the fabric of our capital city and region.

Salt Lake City has a lively Olympic Legacy. What would you like to share with the Union’s Members both in terms of legacy activation initiatives and challenges to keep the Olympic flame alive?

I can’t wait to share the ways Salt Lake City has kept the flame alive. The venues we built for the 2002 games are still operational and remain in use both for Olympians in training and for youth athletes who have Olympic dreams. From our speed skating oval which is home to U.S. Speedskating, to our ski jump venue, bobsled/luge track, athletes continue to train and compete in our facilities. More winter Olympians train in Utah than anywhere else in the world.