Remembering the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics 20 years later

Feb 7, 2022, 3:42 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2022, 5:16 pm
A general view of downtown Salt Lake City at night during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics on February...
A general view of downtown Salt Lake City at night during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics on February 23, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Brian Bahr)
(Photo by Brian Bahr)

SALT LAKE CITY — It was a celebration unlike any other. In a country still reeling from the events of the 9/11 attacks, the biggest international event was held here in Salt Lake City.

Utah had been preparing for years; building top training and performance facilities, widening Interstate 15 for increased traffic and adding a light rail system that led through downtown SLC and up to the University of Utah. Utah would never be the same.

Then, the day arrived. Every corner of Salt Lake was covered in Olympic paraphernalia, including giant posters of athletes on the sides of buildings and billboards.

Rice-Eccles Stadium lit up with a flare of almost 10,000 shells worth of fireworks. A silence, uncharacteristic for such a gathering, fell across the stadium as the flag from the World Trade Center was brought in during the opening ceremony. Performers portrayed the history of Utah — first Native Americans with a traditional dance, and then pioneers and covered wagons as they entered the Salt Lake Valley. The then-Mormon Tabernacle Choir, (now the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square) performed under the direction of John Williams. Light snow drifted down throughout the ceremony.

It truly was a moment of the world meeting Utah. (And who could forget those berets?)

KSL TV covered the event, and you, our viewers watched. We asked for some of your memorabilia and favorite memories and you delivered. Here are some of our viewer’s special moments from 20 years ago.

Bob Hardy shared these passes and photos with KSL. He was a performer in the 2002 Olympics.

Marsha Gale sent us these two photos, "First photo…. Family affair of volunteering and an Olympic athlete too.
2nd photo was with our family after Tristan won the Gold Medal." Marsha Gale sent us these two photos, "First photo…. Family affair of volunteering and an Olympic athlete too.
2nd photo was with our family after Tristan won the Gold Medal." Mark Fotheringham said, "Olympic torch carried by then 83-year-old Beth Love (my mother-in-law) who ran a leg in Brigham City on Feb 6, 2002. Also a beanie." "Olympic Volunteers 2002" Susan Wheatley "Carly -8 years old proudly wearing her Roots Beret Olympic  2002." Photo: Faye Carnahan, proud mom Marty Mangum sent us this torch: "From 20 years ago. My daughter, Micki, was nominated by her sisters to be a torch bearer. What an awesome  experience." "The picture above is me Jessica Duke. I own the roots hat. Still wear it in the winter." "My dad Greg Duke worked at Kimberly Clark at the Ogden plant and he brought home these Kleenex boxes. We still have them. These are all the items hockey puck was found at the local Huntsville ice rink in 2002 I have kept it ever since. The cd was the music from the games. The sticker was the 10th anniversary sticker not used yet." Shelly Flake sent us her pin saying, "My pin collection is for sale on Marketplace. Our family attended the snowboarding half pipe competition and it was amazing! " (Doris Garner) (Doris Garner) (Doris Garner) Working at the medals plaza (Doris Garner) Seeing the torch come through Woods Cross early, early in the morning. (Doris Garner) (Rick Barlow) "This is pretty rare... you can see at the bottom it's numbered...004/1002It's 1 pin of an event that occurred each day and together,  they make the snowflake."
Courtesy: Caren Whatcott Other items (include) a disc of the music of the Olympics, which we still listen to! This opportunity to share comes at a time as we lost my father-in-law in December, so it’s special for us to share our memorabilia with others." Erik Christianson shared this photo, saying, "The best piece we have is my father-in-law’s (Evan Allred) torch from the torch relay. Seeing him run down the road and pass the torch off to Thurl Bailey was something we will never forget both of our boys were younger (in the pictures) and wore the mascot hats to the relay. There are also some pins that my father-in-law received for running the torch in the relay." (Connie Larsen) (Connie Larsen) (Connie Larsen) (Connie Larsen) (Ron Bevan) (Shari Cowan) Debbie Stahmann shared this photo of a Roots beret snowman (Brooke Lentz) (Marci DeHaan) Jessica Faddis was a cheerleader at Jordan High and got to cheer at all the hockey games at the E Center (now Maverik Center). (Sabrina Guerrero) Jeremy Bell submitted the following photos with the caption, "What a treasured experience!" Dan Stokes sent us these pins. Emily Eyre sent us the following photos. "Here are some of my memories of connecting at the Olympic Oval in Kearns."


Kelly Chin sent us her pins with the caption, “I worked for the Utah Department of Public Safety back then. Here is my pin collection.”



Judy Shaw sent us the following. “I had the AMAZING opportunity to serve as a host at the Peaks Ice Arena. I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity and this is my board showing the pins, certificate and an event ticket. A highlight in my life!!”

Aubri Elder’s memorabilia from the games.

Katlyn Smith submitted the following photos from the 2002 Olympics.

Marilei Puentes sent KSL TV this certificate. “I got several things but they’re all stored away. This is the only thing I have on display in my living room. We all got this for participating in the ceremonies ❤️”

Denise Lauer submitted the following photos stating, “I volunteered at the E Center. Saw tons of amazing hockey! I remember shedding a few tears when the Olympic cauldron was extinguished on the last day.”

Bonnie Kirk sent KSL TV the following, “My husband’s collection of pins from SLC Olympics as well as pictures of him, his brother and sister-in-law’s family. All volunteered! “

Have pictures or memorabilia from the 2002 Olympic Games? Submit photos and any caption you’d like to social@ksl.com.

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Remembering the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics 20 years later