Olympic anniversary events capture spirit, excitement of 2002 Winter Games
SALT LAKE CITY — Fraser Bullock sat in his home Saturday re-watching videos of the 2002 Olympic Games in preparation for the coming 10th-anniversary celebration.
“It’s really emotional to feel that feeling again — in terms of 2002, in terms of welcoming the world and having our team perform so well,” said Bullock, who acted as chief operating officer for the games. “It just brings back such a great time. It’s nice to celebrate such a great moment in our state history.”
A number of events have been planned to commemorate the anniversary and capture the special spirit the Games brought to Salt Lake City. Bullock said individuals from 80 countries mingled in Olympic Square, many of them in the state for the first time.
“The feeling was very different,” he recalled. “We had the community come together in a very unique way. … There was just the feeling of having thousands of people there every night just out welcoming each other with camaraderie and friendliness.”
Bullock said the highlight of the commemorative celebration will be the “2002 Stars on Ice” show, which will be Saturday, Feb. 18, at EnergySolutions Arena. There, returning gold-medal athletes such as Sarah Hughes and pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier will perform, interspersed with videos of the Games’ best moments. The event also will feature presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who served as the head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.
The program will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20; proceeds will be used to help pay for the celebration activities.
Earlier in the day, a sports festival will be held on the streets of The Gateway shopping center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event, free and open to the public, will feature winter sports demonstrations, commemorative exhibits of the 2002 Winter Games and opportunities for participants to meet Olympic athletes.
On Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m., the Olympic Cauldron will be relighted at a “Relighting the Flame” ceremony at Cauldron Park at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The flame will remain lighted until Saturday, Feb. 11.
Bullock said he has enjoyed being able to again celebrate a time that meant so much to the state. He said that, to this day, he receives praise for Utah and the Salt Lake City Winter Games and not just as a winter sports haven.
“When I travel around the world, people remark on the friendliness of the people of Utah and the hospitality they received,” Bullock said. “It’s satisfying to see our international reputation so strong.”
As for the prospect that Gov. Gary Herbert may lobby to bring the Winter Games back in 2022, Bullock is all in.
“The games were such a smashing success here,” he said. “People remember that so fondly, they would like to do that again.”
For more information on the 10th-anniversary events, visit saltlake2002.com.
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