Standard-Examiner readers were invited to share their 2002 Winter Olympic memories:
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to assist at the Olympic Hotel, which was located at Little America. I was a "yellow coat", and did "security" checks for my duties. That meant, I usually worked 8 AM - 4 PM, with 30 minutes for lunch, which was free and located across the street at The Grand Hotel in their cafeteria for the hotel employees.
We checked in at 7:30 AM and had a quick update of actions from the previous day we needed to be aware of. We were in charge of checking all people who wanted to go down the IOC hallway (where there were sessions going on daily), and the papparazi were in full force. Almost every day we saw "forged" credentials. So we watched for that, and always had to see their pass....no pass, no entry.
Mitt Romney was upstairs in sessions all day long. When he had to leave to go to a venue, he went on the security elevator.
I was also privileged to work with Secret Service agents, assigned to the hotel for security issues. We had a Prince from a foreign country, and when he was there, the hotel was 100 percent secured ... no one came in Little America who was not: IOC, Romney personnel, volunteers assigned there, or hotel management and their staff.
The IOC and their family & friends were staying at our hotel, and also the Grand Hotel, and their passes would allow them access to certain elevators, or maybe they got to use the secret elevator used to shuttle high profile individuals at any time.
We just always checked passes to make sure the appropriate stickers were attached for the area we were in charge of. Usually it was 2 women & 1 man at each entrance.
One highlight I recall was the day President George Bush stopped by on his way to the Opening Ceremonies, and he met with all the Volunteers and hotel staff, and gave told us how important we all were to the success of these games.
And Mitt Romney always had staff around him, but he made sure his hotel was top notch ... we were allowed to fore-go wearing the yellow parka, but had to wear the ski pants, black boots, black turtleneck shirt, and yellow vest that matched the jacket. Because we were assigned different areas to secure, your jacket had to be close at hand.
Sometimes you had to go to a security point to assist the Secret Service or police officers on duty, at the 600 South, or Main Street entry points, and you needed your black gloves at that time. Even your hat or ear muffs were needed at times.
Also, Mitt Romney put out the word to all hotel Volunteers, we had to use the restroom facilities in the Volunteer tent, not the hotel ... and we were to STAND at all times, no sitting down on the job. Not even the volunteers on duty all night.
So your 7 1/2 hours of standing probably made your feet ache -- mine certainly did.
Would I have traded my venue for a different location ... NO! I loved being at the hotel with all the action. I usually worked on the main IOC floor, and an IOC country head from one of the small African countries, took a shining to me.
We talked often when he would be either stepping out or back inside, after having a cigarette (he was a chain smoker). Most of my co-workers did not want to stand and smell the smoke that came in each time the door was opened, so I took that back door.
It was closer to the Volunteer tent, too, so if I needed to run out to use the bathroom, I saved myself at least 3 minutes.
This gentlemen would give me a different pin of his country each day that I saw him. He also arranged for my young Australian friend, who was staying with my family, and I to attend the Ladies Figure Skating final, where Sarah Hughes won for the USA Gold ... and the final Men's Hockey where the USA lost to Canada, where we received the Silver medal.
We had IOC location seats, which were wonderful. When we saw Sarah Hughes win, all of her family was in the surrounding seats at the Delta Center near us. It had not been expected, so they were truly surprised.
When the 18 days were finished, I felt such a letdown. It was exciting to be there everyday, and see and hear all about the different sports being played, as well as see the IOC in action.
One afternoon, Jean Claude Killy came down the hall to see his country IOC member. He was the most famous person I saw, outside of President Bush and Mitt Romney.
In my family, my sister Volunteered as a Fleet driver, and she would transport IOC members, their family, anyone who was deemed official, sometimes to Park City, but usually just around the venues downtown. She loved her position, too.
And because of the 9-11 event in September, the country was still on high alert, so my husband,who was a Murray Reserve officer, was given the opportunity to assist driving other undercover police, and secret service agents, who were at downtown venues, back and forth to their tents erected by the Utah National Guard, at shift changes.
He worked mainly after his 8 hours at his office job, then spent hours driving around the Salt Lake downtown area. Because he was added in at the last minute, the coats had all been ordered, so they supplied special light tan jackets for these police officer/drivers. He enjoyed his service to the Olympics too.
In closing, I am excited at this 10-year mark. A lot of changes in Utah have occurred from these games, and facilities that are paid in full thanks to Mitt Romney closing the games with a profit instead of a hugh debt that Utah would have had to undertake.
Without his leadership and knowledge, I believe the games would have a different conclusion. I am just happy to be a lifelong citizen of Utah, and to have had the opportunity to Volunteer during our 2002 Olympics.
Sharon Schirack Kerkman