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Whenever the U.S. Olympic Committee is ready to submit a bid for a future Winter Games, Salt Lake City will be prepared to go for it.

To former Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) leader Fraser Bullock, that's the approach likely to be taken after Gov. Gary Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker receive the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee's recommendation on whether the city and state should pursue another Winter Games.

All signs point to a recommendation to do so.

The committee met Friday for the first time since the USOC decided July 3 not to put forth a candidate city for the 2022 Winter Games, preferring to take its time to develop an effective strategy for seeking the 2024 Summer Olympics, the 2026 Winter Games, or both.

That decision took a lot of steam out of the Utah committee's deliberations, actively pursued since February's celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Salt Lake City's 2002 Games revived Olympic fever here.

But committee members decided Friday to continue putting the finishing touches on their recommendation report, with a goal of presenting it to the mayor and governor in August. Those officials then are expected to determine in early fall whether Salt Lake City formally will declare itself a candidate-in-waiting.

Bullock, who was Mitt Romney's No. 2 executive through the 2002 Olympics and took over for him in the wrap-up stage, said this approach would be helpful to a USOC task force that is expected to spend the rest of the year developing a future American bid strategy.

"If Salt Lake City says 'yes [we're interested],' as [the USOC] puts that strategy together, they'll know we stand ready," said Bullock, an adviser to the Exploratory Committee headed by Becker, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and Utah Sports Commission board chairman Steve Price.

Bullock has close connections to USOC leaders Scott Blackmun and Larry Probst, joining them on a negotiating team that in May resolved a lengthy revenue-sharing dispute with the International Olympic Committee. The agreement removed an obstacle that kept U.S. cities from bidding for the Games.

The recommendation report, which will lay out the state's competitive advantages and strategy for pursuing another Winter Olympics, will be made public when it is presented to the governor and mayor, Bullock said.

He spoke as the committee went into a closed session to refine the final details of the report, being prepared by Grant Thomas, SLOC's senior vice president over transportation and venues in 2002.

The report is about 90 percent complete, Bullock said. Committee members are "working through the language so that we present our case as clearly and compellingly as possible."

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Next meeting

The Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee's next, and perhaps last, meeting is set for Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. in Salt Lake City Hall.

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