PARK CITY, Utah — The United States expects to compete in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February despite escalating tensions between the White House and the North Korean regime in recent weeks, U.S. Olympic officials said Monday.
“We’re preparing as if we’re going to go there. The USOC will go,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said during the opening day of the Team USA Media Summit for the PyeongChang Games.
“We understand individual athletes may have questions and concerns but our job as the national Olympic Committee for the United State is to make sure the athletes have an opportunity to go and are well supported by us while they’re there.”
Blackmun was asked if any U.S. athletes had raised the possibility of skipping the Games because of safety concerns.
“Not a single one,” Blackmun said.
USOC officials also said they are considering bidding for the 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics.
A USOC delegation visited PyeongChang in recent weeks and was briefed by both South Korean officials and U.S. military leadership in the region about security. The USOC is also in regular contact with the State Department.
“These Games are really no different than any other Games in terms of our preparation,” Blackmun said. “We’re working closely with the State Department, with law enforcement … We’re in constant communication like we always are. Should the unthinkable happen and there’s conflict between nations that’s not an issue for the U.S. Olympic Committee to get involved with. At that point in becomes an issue for the IOC and for our nations to make decisions on.”
The USOC will address whether to bid for the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games when its board of directors meet Oct. 13. Salt Lake City, Denver and the Reno/Lake Tahoe area have all expressed an interest in bidding for the Winter Olympics. Calgary, Innsbruck and Stockholm are potential international candidates for the 2026 Games.
A year-long informational phase about the 2026 bidding process starts later this month.
“I would say we are definitely interested in hosting the Winter Games in the United States at some point in time,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said. “We need to decide whether that’s ’26, whether that’s ’30. What city that might be. We also have to monitor what’s going on with other cities that are potentially interested in bidding.
“I think (International Olympic Committee president) Thomas Bach has publicly stated that he would like…