By Matthew Moretti, The FlipKey Blog
2002: Salt Lake City, Utah
US Medal Count: (10) Gold + (13) Silver + (11) Bronze = (34) **2nd Place Overall
Why You’d Remember It: This was a particularly emotional Games, being the first since the 9/11 attacks and hosted on US soil (the first time since Lake Placid in 1980). Women’s bobsled was entered into the Games for the first time. Extreme sports became a focal point with snowboarding, moguls, and aerials having a bigger impact. The Canadian men won hockey gold for the first time in 50 years. KISS performed together for the final time, live at the closing ceremonies. The 2002 Olympic bidding process was shrouded in scandal. After failing to win an Olympics four times, members of the IOC accepted bids from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and voted the Games in their favor. Several IOC members were banned and new rules were put in place. After the scandal broke, the SLOC hired Mitt Romney to fix the fractured organization and regain public trust. The US government also chipped in a billion dollars to help the Games continue on.
Why You Should Visit: Salt Lake City, nestled in the southwest of the USA, has a climate more suited towards the Mountain regions nearby and is a must-visit in all seasons. With four world-class ski resorts, Salt Lake City has become a travel hub for winter sports fans. At Olympic Park, you can ride the Comet Winter Bobsled or try the Extreme Zipline in the summer. Travelers can also take a lift up to the highest ski jump in the world (7310 ft), or even watch athletes in training practicing in the old Olympic venues. For the pro sports lover, catch a Utah Jazz game at Energy Solutions Arena or see the Salt Lake Bees minor league baseball team play at the Spring Mobile Ballpark. City Creek Center and The Gateway are the most popular shopping areas (indoor and outdoor) and visitors have been ogling animals at Hogle Zoo which has been around since 1931. The Salt Lake Public Library and the Performing Arts Center would be ideal spots for those who prefer indoor activities. The Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point may have the coolest attraction in Salt Lake: the world’s largest dinosaur exhibit, complete with 60 complete skeletal displays. There are amazing chalets to choose from in Salt Lake City.