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The Winter Olympic Tradition Thrives in Ski City, a Likely Contender for Future Games

Published: 03/21/2018
March 21, 2018. Salt Lake City – The XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea are over but the spirit of the Winter Olympics lives on in Salt Lake, host of the Winter Games in 2002 and a city which claims one of the most concentrated populations of winter Olympians in the world.

For the PyeongChang Olympic Games, the state of Utah sent an astonishing 51 athletes to compete in a variety of sports, from alpine skiing and bobsled to figure skating and freestyle skiing. Some of these athletes are natives while others moved expressly to Utah in order to train at state-of-the-art facilities built for the 2002 Winter Games (venues that are continually upgraded and host Olympic-caliber and World Championship events annually).

Six of these amazing Olympians returned to the Beehive State from Korea with Olympic medals, including Nathan Chen, Bronze Medal for Figure Skating, Team Event; Alex Ferreira, Silver Medal for Men’s Ski Halfpipe; Brita Sigourney, Bronze Medal foe the Women’s Ski Halfpipe; and Carlijn Schoutens, Brittany Bowe and Mia Manganello, who each won Bronze Medals in Women’s Long Track Speed skating.

The Olympic Tradition Lives on in Salt Lake

While Salt Lake—along with its lasting infrastructure and ongoing economic and cultural legacy—is still basking in the glory of the highly successful 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Utah’s capital city is a likely contender to host a future Olympics. A privately-funded exploratory committee recently returned its findings that Salt Lake City, and the state of Utah, has the facilities, infrastructure, interest and ability to bid for either the 2026 or the 2030 Winter Games.

Thanks to four resorts within 40 minutes of downtown – Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude – as well as the “Greatest Snow on Earth,” Salt Lake offers world-class skiing and snowboarding that everyone can enjoy, Olympian and first-timer alike. The training and competition infrastructure not only draws budding Olympians and world-class athletes, but also visitors who want to soak up the Olympic experience after a day on the slopes. Points of interest include:

Utah Olympic Oval

Known for the 'Fastest Ice on Earth,’ the Utah Olympic Oval is home to more than 100 world records in speed skating. Built in 2001, this amazing venue has transformed from a high-performance competition venue to a community recreational resource for Utah residents from all over Salt Lake Valley, while still hosting numerous Olympic caliber and World Cup events each year.

Utah Olympic Park

Located 20 minutes from Salt Lake, the Utah Olympic Park was the host venue of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games' Nordic ski jumping, bobsled and luge events, as well as the first Olympic skeleton competition since 1948. It continues to be a major training site for current and prospective Olympians, while also hosting annual World Cup events. There’s a sliding track and Nordic jumps, training facilities for moguls and freestyle aerials, a terrain park and boarder-cross course where visitors can watch next-generation Olympic athletes honing their skills year-round. On the Comet Bobsled Ride, visitors can experience five G-forces while riding in a professionally piloted bobsled, reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. The Extreme Zipline is one of the steepest in the world and provides a taste of what Olympic Nordic ski jumpers experience, while the adjacent Alf Engen Ski Museum and 2002 Winter Olympics Museum provide an in depth look at the historic 2002 Games.

In addition to these purpose-built venues, Salt Lake’s Olympic Legacy can be seen and felt throughout Northern Utah, from the University of Utah’s Rice Eccles Stadium (home of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies) to the Salt Palace Convention Center (home of the Olympic Main Media Center and International Broadcast Center), the Maverik Center (home of the Olympic hockey events) to towers and banners celebrating the Games (and even the manhole covers throughout the city). The Olympic Legacy can also be found at all the resorts that hosted events during those 17 glorious days in 2002.
 
For a listing of the 2002 Winter Olympic venues, go here.  
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