It's hard to forget the navy blue fleece berets or the raucous musical groups.
Others may instead remember long lines for collector's pins, complicated bus schedules or the number of tourists who crowded the hotels, restaurants and bars.
There were scandals involving top-ranking organizing officials and controversies among judges of figure skating events. And, there was a plethora of hair-raising athletic prowess at venues up and down the Wasatch Front -- including here in the Top of Utah, where Snowbasin hosted the Alpine skiing events and The Ice Sheet in Ogden hosted the curling events.
Everyone, it seems, has a picture postcard of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games forever etched in their memory.
"Has it really been 10 years?" asked a friend who attended several of the Olympic events that February.
Ten years ago, the event overcame a bribery scandal that uncovered how several International Olympic Committee members had accepted lavish gifts from bid committee co-heads Tom Welch and Dave Johnson in return for voting for the Winter Games to come to Salt Lake City. After the scandal hit, Mitt Romney was charged with mopping things up. Hired as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, Romney led the Olympics to its fruition.
"I had forgotten that," my friend admitted. "But I remember a few things: I remember booing a pair of Russian figure skaters that had won the gold medal; I remember watching Lifehouse sing 'Hanging By a Moment,' which, for me, should have been the Olympic theme song; and I remember sitting at the top of Rice-Eccles Stadium during the fireworks of the closing ceremony and feeling like the whole stadium was going to collapse."
In a scandal that would later change the way Olympic figure skating would be judged, outraged fans and hard-charging media relentlessly questioned whether the Russian figure-skating pair of Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikhurulidze, who earned a gold medal on the judges' scorecard, had indeed performed better than their counterparts from Canada, Jamie SalA(c) and David Pelletier. After stories surfaced claiming a French judge had been persuaded to vote favorably for the Russian skaters in return for top marks for a French pair in the ice-dancing event, SalA(c) and Pelletier were presented a dual gold medal for their performance.
Despite the controversies of the games, Utah showed how hip it could be by drawing some of the biggest names in the music business to perform a one-hour set each night at the outdoor Olympic Medals Plaza.
Among the stars who participated were the Dave Matthews Band, the Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Brooks & Dunn, Train and 'N Sync. Lifehouse was an up-and-coming band at the time, which, led by its Olympic performance of "Hanging By a Moment," has now sold more than 15 million singles and albums worldwide.
Bon Jovi, KISS and other bands rocked the closing ceremonies. But while most people remember athletes and dignitaries from different nations embracing and dancing to the music, others, seated at the heights of Rice-Eccles Stadium, remember feeling the building shake under the pressure of fireworks mounted and ignited from the top of the building.
My memories, meanwhile -- as one of just a few reporters still on staff at the Standard-Examiner to have covered sporting events at the 2002 Olympics -- focus on the athletes, the real stars of any Olympics.
There was Apolo Anton Ohno, who led the 1,000-meter short-track speedskating event before falling and taking out three competitors. The last man left standing was Steven Bradbury, who won Australia's first gold medal. Ohno, who crawled in to take the silver, would later win a gold medal in the 1,500-meter race after another skater was disqualified for blocking.
There was the sport of skeleton returning to the Olympic agenda and the emotional American victories by Jim Shea Jr., who became a third-generation Olympic champion, and Tristan Gale on the same day.
There was American figure skater Sarah Hughes' improbable come-from-behind gold-medal performance. In fourth after the short program, Hughes nailed her long program, while favorite Michelle Kwan fell during her performance.
And of course, there was the gold-medal men's hockey game between the U.S. and Canada, which marked the return of Herb Brooks, coach of the famous "Miracle on Ice" U.S. gold medal-winning squad of 1980, to behind the American bench. Canada would end a 50-year drought of Olympic hockey gold by beating the Americans 5-2. Brooks would die 18 months later in a car crash.
Meanwhile, here in the Top of Utah, the U.S. Ski Team got shut out of the medal count for the downhill and super-G at Snowbasin, and for myself, I was charged to cover curling -- don't laugh -- at The Ice Sheet.
I heard all the jokes back then. Attempts at humor, like, "The only curling I am familiar with was the type I did to my hair in the '80s," or, "I haven't heard so many people say, 'Where's my beer, eh?' since Bob and Doug McKenzie."
And of course, there was David Letterman's Top 10 list, which included, "No. 7 ... Sweep the stone toward the hog line and then ... OK, I don't know crap about curling."
But during the Salt Lake Games, the popularity of curling soared.
Columnist George Karrys, labeled The Curling Guru, said on his website, "NBC made a cautious commitment to curling (during the 2002 Olympics) via their cable affiliates. Those channels quickly experienced skyrocketing ratings."
In 2006, NBC would devote 60 hours of TV coverage to curling. And then in 2010, the network would devote 80 hours of coverage.
The appeal of curling, said another columnist and friend, is that it doesn't take strapping on spandex and jumping on a sled, or flying down a mountain on narrow sticks, or performing a triple axel on skates. Young or old, thin or heavy, female or male, athletic or nonathletic, curling appeals to every one of us.
And as far as the appeal of those navy blue berets, or the dozen or so collector's pins? Well, those beauties are stuffed a drawer somewhere.
The memories are better than the souvenirs anyway.