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SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 8 - On a brisk Utah night, with temperatures dipping into the teens and light snow falling from the skies, America welcomed the world to play in peace and harmony on the slopes and in the arenas of the Wasatch Range for the next 17 days as the curtain raised on the XIX Olympic Winter Games.

AFTER MUCH anticipation, the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron was performed by the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” gold medal hockey team Friday night.

Once the Olympic Torch arrived, it was carried around the ice rink within the stadium floor by a host of former U.S. Olympians, including Dan Jansen, Bonnie Blair, Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Phil Mahre, Bill Johnson and current members Jim Shea, Cammi Granato and Picabo Street. Finally, Mike Eruzione and the rest of the gold medal hockey squad lit the Olympic Cauldron.

Among the dignitaries who were to join the thousands of fans at the Opening Ceremony were U.S. President George W. Bush and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In one of the most dramatic moments of the night and a break from tradition, Bush, standing within the American athletes designation, uttered the words “I declare open the Games of Salt Lake City” to officially start the Games.

Also attending were four members of the New York Port Authority, the agency that lost 37 employees in the World Trade Center collapse.

The victims of the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks were remembered in a poignant moment when an honor guard of eight U.S. Olympians carried in the “Ground Zero Flag,” which is believed to be the only American flag flying at the World Trade Center complex on the morning of Sept. 11, when two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers.

In a touching moment, Daniel Rodriguez, a New York policeman, brought tears to the eyes of some with his stirring rendition of “God Bless America.”

“I think these events are going to strike a proper balance between the patriotism we all feel here and the international flavor of the Games,” Bush said after a brief meeting Friday with Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Mormon Church.

Bookended by Greece and the United States, athletes and officials from 77 countries who are participating in the Games paraded into the stadium.

Among the flagbearers were alpine star Janica Kostelic, carrying the flag of Croatia; Finnish ski jump legend Toni Nieminen carried his nation’s flag; downhill star Hilde Gerg carried Germany’s; Liv Grete Skjelbried Poiree carried the Norwegian flag; biathlon gold medal favorite Magdalena Forsberg carried the Swedish flag; and alpine star Isolde Kostner carried the Italian flag.

The Americans were led in by four-time Olympian Amy Peterson, whose brave battle with chronic fatigue syndrome touched the hearts of her teammates.

In a ceremony framed by fireworks, the crowd was treated to a salute to Games past on one of the largest ice skating rinks ever built. When a skater carrying a banner emblazoned with “Salt Lake 2002” came into view, the crowd roared and the celebration began.

Among the other moments painted forever in the minds and hearts of 52,000 in the stadium - the largest crowd ever at an Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony - and the millions watching on television was the first-ever meeting of the five Native American tribes who call Utah home.

The Ute Nation, Goshute Nation, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, Paiute Indian Nation and Navajo-Dine Nation gathered in the center of the stadium for a five-ring drum dance.

Famed composer John Williams dazzled the crowd by directing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in his new composition called the “Call of the Champions.” As the choir sang, the crowd turned over placards that spelled out Salt Lake’s theme “Light The Fire Within” and then fireworks danced above the stadium as the choir hit the song’s high notes.

NEW YORK — The Salt Lake City Games had the highest-rated Olympic opening ceremony ever, with a quarter of the country tuning in. NBC’s broadcast drew a 25.5 national rating and 42 share Friday night, with Nielsen Media Research reporting that 72 million people watched all or part. That means an average of 25.5 percent of all U.S. TV homes and 42 percent of TVs that were on were tuned to NBC. It’s a stunning and immediate turnaround from the last Olympics, the Summer Games in Sydney in September 2000. NBC’s coverage there was hampered by a huge time difference and other problems that contributed to the lowest prime-time TV ratings for an Olympics since 1968. The TV audiences for the Sydney Games were so far below what sponsors were promised that NBC was airing extra ads by the middle of the first week to make up the difference. The advertisers paying about $600,000 per 30-second spot this time around had to be pleased with Friday’s tune-in.


Gold Medals = 2 Cross-Country, 1 Freestyle, 1 Speed Skating. USA ends day with 2 silver medals.

The Olympic Medals Plaza debuted Saturday night with an energetic program marked by all the expected cheers and tears and only a few glitches. At least 18,000 people packed the open-air arena for the festivities, which ran more than three hours and saw 12 athletes receive medals. At 8:10 p.m., IOC President Jacques Rogge presented the Games' first medal - a bronze - to Japanese moguls skier Tae Satoya. "These are the champions of the day!" Salt Lake Organizing Committee President Mitt Romney told the crowd, who braved frigid temperatures and, in some cases, a 45-minute wait to pass through security gates at Olympic Square.

FEB 10
Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Nordic Combined, 1 Ski-Jumping, 1 Snowboarding, 1 Speed Skating. USA wins first gold medal! No clear lead in the medal standings... 9 gold medals so far and 9 countries with 1 gold medal each. Austria has 5 medals followed by Germany and USA with 3 each.

FEB 11
5 Gold Medals = 2 Biathlon, 1 Figure Skating, 1 Luge, 1 Snowboarding. USA sweeps Snowboarding men's halfpipe. Austria, Germany, USA all have 6 medals and Norway has 4. GER, USA, NOR and Italy have 2 gold medals each while AUT, FIN, NED, RUS, SUI and ESP have 1 each. Controversy erupts at Figure Skating Pairs competition.

FEB 12
Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 2 Cross-Country, 1 Freestyle, 1 Speed Skating. USA leads medal table with 9 medals (3-4-2). Austria has 7, GER/NOR have 6 each and Russia with 5 medals. USA and NOR have 3 gold medals each, FIN/GER/ITA have 2 each.

FEB 13
6 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 2 Biathlon, 1 Luge, 1 Short-Track, 1 Ski-Jumping. German women sweep luge singles powering GER to the top with 12 medals (4-6-2). USA has 10 medals (3-5-2) but NOR has 5 golds and 3 silvers. FIN/ITA/SUI have 2 each and KOR wins 1st gold.

FEB 14
4 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Cross-Country, 1 Figure Skating (M), 1 Speed Skating. Canada wins first gold medal. Russia conquers Men's Figure Skating with a 1-2 finish. American Tim Goebel does a never-before triple quad to win bronze.

FEB 15
4 Gold Medals = 1 Cross-Country, 1 Luge, 2 Snowboarding. Figure skating controversy update: Canadian pair awarded gold medal as well. Luge ends with Germans conquering 5 of 9 luge medals. Snowboarding ends with the USA dominating 5 of 12 medals. GER at the top of the medal chart with 16 medals (5-7-4) followed by USA's 14 medals (3-6-5). AUT and NOR have 10 medals each and RUS has 9. GER/NOR have 5 golds each; USA/RUS/SUI have 3 each.

FEB 16
6 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 2 Biathlon, 2 Short-Track, 1 Speed Skating. Norway ruled the day. Bjoerndalen (NOR) wins third gold medal in Biathlon. Aamodt gets second goal in Alpine Skiing. Australia and China capture their first winter Olympic gold. GER still atop the medal charts with 18 medals (5-8-5) followed by USA's 16 (3-7-6), AUT/NOR with 12 each and RUS with 10 (4-4-2). Norway has 7 gold medals!

FEB 17
Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Bobsleigh, 1 Cross-Country, 1 Nordic Combined, 1 Speed Skating. Sale/Pelletier finally get Olympic gold. Germany remains in the lead with 22 medals (6-10-6) followed by USA with 18 medals (4-7-7). AUT/NOR have 13 each and RUS has 10. Norway is golden with 8 golds followed by GER (6), USA/RUS (4) and ITA/SUI/FIN (3).

FEB 18
Gold Medals = 1 Biathlon, 1 Figure Skating, 1 Freestyle, 1 Ski-Jumping. Ski-Jumping ends with Germans edging Finns by 0.1pts in Team K-120. Australia wins another gold medal! Only their second in Winter Olympic history. French pair takes Ice Dancing gold.

FEB 19
Gold Medals = 1 Bobsleigh, 2 Cross-Country, 1 Freestyle, 1 Speed Skating. Derek Parra smashes World Record en route to 1500m Speed Skating gold. USA ends Freestyle Skiing with 3 silvers compared to their 3 golds in Nagano 1998. USA wins inaugural women's bobsleigh. In women's figure skating, Michelle Kwan (USA) conquers seven 5.9s for Presentation to lead after the short program. GER sits nicely atop the medal tally with 28 medals (8-13-7) with USA second with 21 medals (6-8-7). NOR has 17 medals and both AUT/RUS have 13 medals each. NOR has 9 golds, GER has 8, USA 6, RUS 5 and ITA/FRA/FIN/SUI have 3 each.

"Powder" the Hare (Swifter)
"Copper" the Coyote (Higher)
"Coal" the Bear (Stronger)

FEB 20
7 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Biathlon, 2 Skeleton, 2 Short-Track, 1 Speed Skating. Bjoerndalen wins a historic fourth gold medal by helping Norway win the Biathlon Relay. USA sweeps both Skeleton medals en route to best 1-day showing ever in Winter Olympics: 3 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze. GER still leads medal tally with 31 medals (9-15-7). USA is second with 26 medals (9-9-8) followed by Norway's 18 medals (10-6-2), Austria 14 (1-4-9) and Russia 13 (5-5-3). ITA/FRA/FIN/SUI still have 3 gold medals each.

FEB 21
5 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Cross-Country, 1 Curling (W), 1 Figure Skating (W), 1 Ice Hockey (W). In a stunning Women's Ice Hockey final, Canada edges USA 3-2 for the gold medal. Sarah Hughes (USA) skated the performance of her lifetime to win the gold medal in women's figure skating beating Irina Slutskaya (RUS) and Michelle Kwan (USA). GER holds a narrow lead at the top of the medal tally with 32 medals (10-15-7) to USA's 30 medals (10-11-9). Norway is 3rd with 20 medals (10-7-3) followed by AUT with 15 (2-4-9) and RUS with 14 (5-6-3).

FEB 22
4 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Curling (M), 1 Nordic Combined, 1 Speed Skating. Russia lodges a complaint against biased judging in women's figure skating. Canada slams Belarus (victors over a very strong Swedish team in the quarterfinals) 7-1 in the men's ice hockey semi-finals to reach the finals guaranteeing a medal after failing to medal in Nagano. Croat Kostelic became the only skier to win four Alpine medals in one Olympics and joins Jean-Claude Killy and Anton Sailer as the only skiers with 3 gold medals at one Olympics. In a dramatic men's ice hockey semi-final, USA held off Russia 3-2 to set up a showdown with Canada in the gold medal game. The medal tally barely changed in the top 5. GER added 1 medal for a total of 33. USA had a rare medal-less day. NOR added 2 (11-7-4), AUT added 1 and RUS was unchanged. FIN has 4 golds and CRO/NED joins CAN/SUI/FRA/ITA with 3 golds each.

FEB 23
7 Gold Medals = 1 Alpine Skiing, 1 Bobsleigh, 1 Cross-Country, 3 Short-Track, 1 Speed Skating

FEB 24
2 Gold Medals = 1 Cross-Country, 1 Ice Hockey (M)


‘Superb Games’ come to a close
U.S., Utah take sigh of relief, host one last Olympic party

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 24 (MSNBC) - The Russians showed up. So did the South Koreans. After two weeks of scandal, Utah and America bid farewell to the Winter Olympics with a show of harmony and a collective sigh of relief.

THE GAMES WENT out with a flourish of Americana on Sunday night, an eclectic dose of Vegas kitsch with stars like Donny and Marie Osmond, KISS and Jon Bon Jovi highlighting the three-hour stadium party. The colorful festival was a cathartic end to games that were troubled, exciting, wonderful and frustrating all at once.

“We were thrilled by your spirit of fair play and brotherhood,” International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told the crowd of 55,000. “Keep this flame alight. Promote the Olympic dream in your countries. You are the true ambassadors of the Olympic values.”

Rogge also thanked the security forces that kept the games safe at the cost of about $310 million, a bill that increased following the Sept. 11 attacks.

“People of America, Utah and Salt Lake City, you have given the world superb games,” he said. “You have reassured us that people from all countries can live peacefully together. Thank you.”

Next, it’s Italy’s turn. During a six-minute introduction to the northern Italian town of Turin, images of Ferraris, the Sistine Chapel and the Mona Lisa flashed onto the stadium floor while Italian pop star Irene Grandi sang the old Dean Martin standard, “Volare.”

Most of the 2,500 athletes at the games paraded into Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium and watched from the stands. Bobsledding bronze medalist Brian Shimer, a five-time Olympian, carried the American flag. Draped in an American flag, Bon Jovi played, Harry Connick Jr. sang, and so did Earth, Wind and Fire and Gloria Estefan. Dorothy Hamill, Katarina Witt and Scott Hamilton skated.

At the end, the athletes came down to the stadium floor to mingle in the final gathering of 78 nations that came to Salt Lake City. It was a chance to forget the scandals, from the allegations of bribery involving Salt Lake City organizers to the judging controversy in figure skating.

Just a few hours before the closing ceremony, the IOC dismissed three skiers from the games for drug use. The Russians and South Koreans had also threatened to boycott the ceremony to protest what they believed was unfair judging. But they were there to see the ceremonial passing of the Olympic flag between the mayors of Salt Lake City and Turin and the flame extinguished. “I have mixed feelings at the end of these Olympic Winter Games,” Russian IOC member Vitaly Smirnov said. “On the one hand, there were great victories. On the other hand, there were scandals, rules violations, judging problems.” Indeed, the games were far from perfect, but far from a disaster, either. The same could be said about the closing ceremony.

The Child of Light, urging everyone to “Light the Fire Within” throughout these games, made his final appearance. He skated with Hamilton, and later led the audience in a singalong of “Happy Trails.” Rogge watched much of the ceremony with Vice President Dick Cheney and Salt Lake Organizing Committee president Mitt Romney.

Rogge kept true to the promise that he would not call any Olympics “the best games ever,” as his predecessor, Juan Antonio Samaranch, often did. Still, the IOC and Salt Lake City organizers were happy and relieved. The games weren’t tainted by violence, except for a minor disturbance downtown early Sunday. Traffic problems many people predicted never materialized.

When the speeches ended, Willie Nelson sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a quiet counterbalance to the glitz of the rest of the show. Chris Klug. Sarah Hughes. Tristan Gale. Jimmy Shea. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Vonetta Flowers. All of them made history in their own way, and reminded the world that the Olympics are really about sports. The Americans won 34 medals, shattering their previous record of 13. It still wasn’t enough to put them ahead of Germany (35) in the total medal count, but these still were America’s games.

At the opening ceremony, U.S. athletes carried the tattered flag from the World Trade Center into the stadium. Later, the American “Miracle on Ice” hockey team lighted the Olympic torch. Long before that, the games were thrown into jeopardy because of the Sept. 11 attacks. A $310 million security effort turned this city, home of the Mormon church, into an armed fortress. Even at the closing ceremony, the cuddly Olympic mascots Copper, Coal and Powder weren’t nearly as visible as the unofficial symbols of these games — police officers and metal detectors.

Still, it was a party - irreverent, wild, rocking. As the athletes left their seats and danced on the color-splashed stage, huge beach balls came down from the stands. The whole thing resembled a nightclub rave. For the finale, a 4½-minute fireworks display lighted up the Wasatch Mountains edging the city. It was a bright, bold finish to an Olympics memorable both in and out of the athletic arena.

Salt Lake City 2002 Poster

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