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Best Moments Of 2002 Winter Olympics In Salt Lake City

Kazuyoshi Funaki of Japan practices in the K-90 individual nordic combined event during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle /Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Governor of Utah and other officials announced Wednesday that they have formed an Olympic Committee in hopes of the Winter Olympics coming back to Salt Lake City after hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.

The Olympic bid would be for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics.

A major reason Salt Lake City is likely to host another Winter Olympics is because of the infrastructure and facilities already in place from the 2002 Winter Olympics.

As Utah gets excited at the possibility of hosting another Winter Olympics, here is a look back at some of the best moments from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

(Don’t worry we will leave the berets out)

Patriotism In Full Force

The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City came only some months after the tragic events of September 11. A torn and tattered flag from the World Trade Center was delivered to Rice Eccles Stadium.

George W. Bush was the first president to ever open the Olympics. Many of the athletes recalled special feelings at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“It was amazing to be a part of something that people could celebrate for you a change…something that caused the world to come together,” said Kelly Clark, a snowboarding gold medalist.

America’s First Gold Medal Of 2002 – Kelly Clark

Kelly Clark won the first gold medal for the United States at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics in snowboarding halfpipe. The Salt Lake Olympics was only the second Games with a snowboarding halfpipe competition.

The competition was held in Park City, Utah. Clark’s gold helped shoot extreme winter sports like snowboarding into the spotlight for years to come.

The lighting of The Olympic Cauldron By ‘Miracle On Ice’ Team

The Olympic Cauldron was lit by the US Gold Medal hockey team known for the “Miracle On Ice”.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Miracle On Ice happened in 1980 at the Lake Placid, Michigan Olympics. A rag-tag bunch of collegiate hockey players who were never supposed the win ended up beating the Soviet Union and winning a Gold Medal.

The Soviet Union had won Gold in five of the sixth previous matches and many of their players had professional experience, unlike the Americans.  The moment they won Gold was so impactful for Americans (it was during the Cold War) that a movie was eventually made about the team.

In 2002, as the torch was being carried through the arena and no one knew who would be the final Olympian(s) to light the Cauldron, everyone in America was surprised when Mike Eruzione grabbed the torch.

Figure Skating Gold For 16-year-old Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes, a 16-year-old from Great Neck, New York, became one of the youngest figure skating champions in Olympic history.

United States Men Sweep Snowboarding Halfpipe

This is another moment that helped skyrocket extreme winter sports into the mainstream. Ross Powers (Gold), Danny Kass (Silver) and Jarrett Thomas (Bronze), all Americans, and all medalists in the men’s snowboarding halfpipe event.

The event (second in Olympic history) was held in Park City and the Park City Mountain Resort.

Women’s Bobsled Debut & Gold Medals

Women’s bobsled debuted at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Two American women, Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers won gold medals.

To take the historical moment even farther, Flowers was the first African-American woman to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

Derek Parra Wins Gold At 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics

Derek Parra is a speed skater from San Bernardino, California. He won two medals, one Gold and one Silver, at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Parra was from California, but during his training for the Olympics in Salt Lake City, he worked at Home Depot in West Valley City to make ends meet.

American’s Triple Medal Count In 2002 Winter Olympics In Salt Lake City

With 10 Gold medals, 13 Silver, and 11 Bronze medals the United States team more than tripled their medal count from the previous Olympics.

For the Americans the total medal count for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City was 34, coming in second to Germany with 36.

Salt Lake City Is Already Prepared To Host

Events for the 2002 Olympics were held across ten competitive venues in downtown Salt Lake City, Park City, Provo, and in the mountains near SLC.

Many venues of past Olympics are torn down, not cared for, or are left abandoned after the Olympics are over.

All ten venues used for competition during the 2002 Olympics are still in use, making Salt Lake an ideal candidate for future Games.

 

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