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The 2002 Winter Olympics (officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games and also known as Salt Lake 2002) were an international winter multi-sport event held between February 8 and 24, 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout 165 sporting sessions. The 2002 Winter Olympics and the 2002 Paralympic Games were both organized by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC),[1] and marked the fifth Olympic Games to be held in the United States.

The opening ceremony was held on February 8, 2002, and sporting competitions were held until the closing ceremony on February 24.[1] Music for both ceremonies was directed by Mark Watters.[2] Salt Lake City became the most populous area ever to have hosted the Winter Olympics, but was surpassed by Turin in the 2006, which itself was surpassed by Vancouver in 2010.[3] Following a trend, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games were also larger than all prior Winter Games, with a considerable ten more events than the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.[4]

The Salt Lake Games faced a bribery scandal and some local opposition during the bid, as well as some sporting and refereeing controversies during the competitions. Nevertheless, from sporting and business standpoints, they were among the most successful Winter Olympic Games in history; records were set in both the broadcasting and marketing programs with over two billion people watching over 13 billion viewer hours.[5] The Games were also financially successful, raising more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, which left the SLOC with a surplus of $40 million after the Games. The surplus was used to create the Utah Athletic Foundation, which maintains and operates many of the remaining Olympic venues.[5]

These were the first Winter Olympic Games to be opened by an incumbent President of the United States, in this case, George W. Bush. Of the three previous Winter Games which had been held in the United States, both Squaw Valley 1960 and Lake Placid 1980 had both been opened by Vice Presidents, Richard Nixon and Walter Mondale respectively, while Lake Placid 1932 was opened by Franklin D. Roosevelt during his tenure as Governor of New York. Both Nixon and Roosevelt became President later in their careers (with FDR becoming president in November of 1932).

Host city selection

Salt Lake City was chosen over Quebec City, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Östersund, Sweden at the 104th IOC Session in Budapest, Hungary on June 16, 1995.[6] It had previously come in second during the bids for the 1998 Winter Olympics, awarded to Nagano, Japan, and had offered to be the provisional host of the 1976 Winter Olympics when Denver, Colorado withdrew. The 1976 Winter Olympics were ultimately awarded to Innsbruck, Austria.

Bidding process

Voting results for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games
City Country Round 1
Salt Lake City United States 54
Östersund Sweden 14
Sion Switzerland 14
Québec City Canada 7
Graz Austria Internal selection
Jaca Spain
Poprad-Tatry Slovakia
Sochi Russia
Tarvisio Italy



The stalactite-shaped torch of Salt Lake City 2002 was made with a variety of materials to represent various ideas.

  • Lightweight glass: winter and ice
  • Old silver: the West, flowing water
  • Shiny silver: the heart and speed of the athletes
  • Copper: fire, passion, and the history of Utah

The grooves in the silver help evoke a natural ice stalactite, and the frosted glass orifice from which the flame rises is a one-of-a-kind feature amongst all of the Olympic torches. It's recalls the theme of the 2002 games, to "Light the Fire Within".

Medal table

Rank Country Gold.png Silver.png Bronze.png Total
1 Norway 13 5 7 25
2 Germany 12 16 8 36
3 United States 10 13 11 34
4 Canada 7 3 7 17
5 Russia 5 4 4 13
6 France 4 5 2 11
7 Italy 4 4 5 13
8 Finland 4 2 1 7
9 Netherlands 3 5 0 8
10 Austria 3 4 10 17
11 Switzerland 3 2 6 11
12 Croatia 3 1 0 4
13 China 2 2 4 8
14 South Korea 2 2 0 4
15 Australia 2 0 0 2
16 Czech Republic 1 2 0 3
17 Estonia 1 1 1 3
18 Great Britain 1 0 1 2
19 Sweden 0 2 5 7
20 Bulgaria 0 1 2 3
21 Japan 0 1 1 2
21 Poland 0 1 1 2
23 Belarus 0 0 1 1
23 Slovenia 0 0 1 1


Competitive Venues

Venue Event(s) Gross Capacity Ref.
Deer Valley Alpine skiing (slalom), Freestyle skiing 13,400 [7]
E Center Ice hockey 10,500 [8]
Park City Mountain Resort Alpine skiing (giant slalom), Snowboarding 16,000 [9]
Peaks Ice Arena Ice hockey 8,400 [10]
Salt Lake Ice Center1 Figure skating, Short track speed skating 17,500 [8]
Snowbasin Alpine skiing (combined, downhill, super-G) 22,500 [11]
Soldier Hollow Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (cross-country skiing portion) 15,200 [12]
The Ice Sheet at Ogden Curling 2,000 [13]
Utah Olympic Oval Speed skating 5,236 [14]
Utah Olympic Park
(bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track)
Bobsleigh, Luge, Skeleton, Nordic combined (ski jumping portion), ski jumping 18,100 (ski jumping)
15,000 (sliding track)

1Because of the no-commercialization policy of the Olympics, the Delta Center, now the Vivint Arena, was labeled as the "Salt Lake Ice Center," causing some confusion for visitors.

Non-competitive Venues

Venue Event(s)/Purpose Gross Capacity Ref.
Main Media Center International Broadcast Center & Main Press Center
2002 Olympic Medals Plaza Olympic medal presentations & Olympic Celebration Series concerts 20,000 [16]
2002 Olympic Village Olympic Village & Olympic Family Hotel
Park City Main Street Main Street Celebration area, Park City Technical Center, NBC broadcast center, Sponsor Showcases [17]
Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium Opening & Closing Ceremonies ≈50,000 [18]
Salt Lake Olympic Square Olympic Medals Plaza, Salt Lake Ice Center, Olympic Superstore, Sponsor Showcases [19]
  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Cite book
  2. Air Edel | Composers | MARK WATTERS. Retrieved on May 14, 2011.
  3. Salt Lake population figures by the United States Census
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  5. 5.0 5.1 Template:Cite book
  6. IOC Vote History
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  8. 8.0 8.1 Template:Cite book
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Olympic Games
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Winter Olympic Games
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