“The International Olympic Committee has decided we will award the delegation of the 19th Olympic Winter Games in two thousand and two, to the city of Salt Lake City!” – The date was June 16th, 1995. Local Utahns gathered to hear the decision from the International Olympic Committee as to where the 2002 Winter Olympic Games would be held. From the moment those words were spoken, cheers could be heard on every street corner, in every gathered crowd, and in homes across the state. With the official announcement came years of preparation and excitement, getting ready for the world to see how spectaculor Salt Lake City really is. “Light The Fire Within” was the theme chosen for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Fast forward to December 4, 2001. The Olympic Flame began its journey to Salt Lake City, Utah, from Olympia, Greece. It traveled across oceans, deserts, mountains and valleys to reach Olympic Cauldron Park in Salt Lake City on February 8, 2002, right in time for the opening ceremonies at Rice Eccles Stadium. Local Utahns were chosen to carry the flame during the Olympic Torch Relay. Crowds lined the streets to get a look at the Olympic Flame and cheer for those that were honored to carry it.
My longtime neighbor, Senator Ed Mayne, was chosen as one of those selected to carry the Olympic Flame. You can see the excitement of the local community in this video.
A fun way to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City is to visit all of the venues where the Olympics were held. Visit Salt Lake has created an Olympic Legacy Tour, where you can visit all of the olympic venues, and complete challenges on your smartphone through a free app. Download the free SCVNGR app on your phone, and complete all of the challenges:
- The Ice Sheet at Ogden photo challenge- Take a picture of the ice rink with the American Flag in the background.
- Rice-Eccles Stadium photo challenge- Take a picture of the Olympic Cauldron at the stadium.
- EnergySolutions Arena photo challenge- Take a photo of the Olympic memorial monument that stands on the plaza.
- Olympic Legacy Fountain at The Gateway open response challenge- What song was playing when you saw the fountain going off.
- The Gallivan Center photo challenge- Take a photo of the Olympic memorial monument that stands on Main Street.
- Salt Palace Convention Center photo challenge- Take a picture with our official “Ranger” welcoming you to Salt Lake in the Visitor Information Center.
- Utah Olympic Park photo challenge- Take a picture of the bobsled track.
- Utah Olympic Oval photo challenge- Take a photo of the Olympic memorial monument that stands outside the Oval.
- Maverik Center specific text challenge- What medal did the United States win in Hockey at the 2002 Olympics?
- Park City Mountain Resort specific text challenge- What band played a concert at the base of the resort during the Olympics?
Can you believe it is ten years later, and we are looking back to 2002 when the world came to Salt Lake City?! It almost doesn’t seem real. In the next month, there will be celebrations, displays and other events to celebrate the ten year anniversary:
- Park City Community Celebration (Feb 1st)
- Olympic Experience Exhibition at the University of Utah (Feb 1 – 29)
- Utah Olympic Park Community Celebration in Park City (Feb 9th)
- Relighting The Flame at Rice Eccles Stadium Cauldron Park (Feb 9th – 11th)
- 2002 Winter Games Reunion in Ogden (Feb. 16th – 19th)
- Kearns Community Celebration at the Utah Olympic Oval (Feb 17th)
- Salt Lake 2002 Stars On Ice at the Energy Solutions Arena (Feb 18th)
- Olympic Sport Festival at The Gateway (Feb. 18th)
Stay tuned to Enjoy Utah! for a look back at all memories of the 2002 Olympic Games.