Remaining aura of the 2002 Olympics

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at

Events unfolding in Vancouver are not so much different from those that took place eight years ago in Salt Lake City … huge crowds, loud cheers, bells ringing, people waiting, street venders hawking their wares and an intense competitive atmosphere. And, even though eight years have passed, the Olympic aura remains here in Utah. Olympic venues are open, training continues for both current and future Olympians, world-class events are continually being held and spectators are welcome.

The Salt Lake Games are also presenting themselves well in Canada.

The jumping hills at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City have become a popular spectator site in winter and summer. Jumpers from all over the world visit the center.

On Tuesday in Canada, the U.S. team broke into the Nordic combined (ski jumping/cross-country) team event for the first time ever in winning a silver. The four U.S. team members — Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick, Bill Demong and Brett Camerota — all train at the Park City venue. Camerota, is fact, is one of nine among the 19 on the U.S. roster listing Park City as a hometown.

There are only two sliding tracks in the U.S. — Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. So, naturally, it has become a magnet to world-class competitors in bobsled, luge and skeleton.

In 2002, Americans did well on the track. In one of the more emotional wins, Jim Shea Jr. won the gold in the men’s singles skeleton. Two American women won gold and silver in the women’s event.

Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers of the U.S. won the gold in the women’s two-person bobsled, and the U.S. won silver and bronze in the four-person men’s bobsled.

In the luge, Brian Martin and Mark Grimmette won the silver in the two-person event.

And, away from the competition, there was the Olympic camaraderie, similar to what is happening now in Vancouver. The city streets here were packed with people who came on trains, planes, cars, buses and taxi cabs. They came with pins to trade, signs to hold, tickets for “their sport” and an excitement Utah had not seen before — and may never see again.

Click here to read the entire article.


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