Utah marks 10th anniversary of hosting 2002 Olympics

Feb 19 2012 - 1:29am

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah marked its 10-year anniversary of hosting the 2002 winter games on Saturday with a festival featuring interactive booths, a giant screen showing highlights of the event and appearances by current and former Olympic stars.

Participants said the Olympic Sports Festival in Salt Lake City stirred memories of a successful, entertaining event.

Chris Coombs, who was a volunteer at the games, said some of her favorite times involved milling with people on Salt Lake City's streets at night. "It was just amazing seeing people from all over the world. It was really exciting," she said.

Fraser Bullock, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's No. 2 executive, said the opening ceremonies remain one of his most vivid memories of the games. "Two billion people around the world were focused on the games," he said, adding "there was dead silence" as the flag from New York's ground zero was carried into Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium.

Bullock's boss back in 2002, Mitt Romney, also appeared at the festival Saturday.

Judy Stanfield, a former SLOC employee, showed up dressed in a torch-bearer's uniform and carrying her torch from a leg of the relay through Idaho.

"A lot of people want to hold the torch," she said. "They never got that close to it during the Olympics, so this is personal for them."

Sarah Hughes, who won the figure skating gold medal in 2002, returned for a "Stars on Ice" show. Other Olympians who made appearances included long-track speed skater Derek Parra and skeleton competitor Jimmy Shea.

Attention also was focused on Utah's still-active active venues from the 2002 games: the speed-skating oval in Kearns and Utah Olympic Park outside Park City.

Interactive booths allowed participants to test their agility, speed, endurance, precision and flexibility. They included activities such as riding a stationary bicycle, weightlifting, playing table tennis, shooting a Wii rifle and walking on a balance beam.

The booths coincided with the U.S. Olympic Committee's tour designed to drum up interest in the 2012 summer games.

 

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