Salt Lake City will be in the national spotlight for the next 10 days as the U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Trials are held in the Salt Palace through Aug. 7, drawing athletes, hundreds of news media representatives, and more than 3,500 eager, out-of-town guests who have tickets for the event.
All of this not only is a healthy boost to the economy, but it will showcase Utah for the entire nation with massive amounts of television coverage. The Olympic Trials are, in effect, a sneak preview of the international Olympics in Seoul, Korea, next September, and the interest is intense.The focus of the event is, of course, the gymnastics and the granting of Olympic berths to the survivors. The performances will be of world class caliber and on a par with just about anything to be seen later in Korea.
Aside from the outcome of these athletic trials, and the spectacle of the competition, the pre-Olympic event has significant possibilities for Utah and the state's future tourist industry.
The experience that the athletes, the visitors, and the national news media have in Salt Lake City - if it is as rewarding as Utahns certainly are capable of making it - could mean valuable publicity and good will that could hardly be equaled in any massive advertising campaign.
This is an opportunity to build the state's image, bolster the economy, help tourism, and lay the groundwork for similar prestigious events in the future. For this kind of gold-medal performance, Salt Lake area residents simply have to be friendly, open, and helpful to strangers - in short, their usual good selves.
To the Olympic visitors in our midst, a hearty welcome and may your stay be a pleasant and memorable one.