National Olympic Day commemorates the glory |

National Olympic Day commemorates the glory

Sarah Moffitt, The Park Record

The Winter Olympics may have come to Utah over 10 years ago, but residents will once again have a chance to relive the memories and meet their favorite athletes from the Games on Saturday, June 23, during National Olympic Day.

The Utah Olympic Park, along with communities across the nation and 160 countries will hold special events to celebrate the birth of the modern-day Olympic Games. The United States Olympic Committee calls it a day to not only celebrate, but "an international effort to promote fitness and well-being in addition to Olympic ideals of fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship."

According to Jennifer Clark, head of public relations for the Utah Legacy Foundation, the event will celebrate all the athletes who compete in the Games and promote and encourage physical fitness.

"We want this day to inspire people to participate in sports and try new things," Clark said. "Hopefully learning about all of our programs and meeting some role models will encourage them."

This year, the Utah Olympic Park is holding its celebration in conjunction with the National Ability Center and will have a meet-and-greet with Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

"People will get a chance to meet athletes they remember from the games and learn how they can become involved in the same sports," she said.

Athletes expected to be at the celebration include freestyle skiers Emily Cook and Shannon Bahrke, Paralympics skier Chris Waddell, bobsledder Valerie Fleming and aerial skier Nikki Stone.

Clark said that the National Ability Center will also have adaptive Olympic equipment on display so people can learn more about what it takes for the Paralympic athletes to compete.

"Through this event we want to raise awareness of our facilities as well as promoting the Olympic ideals which are such a large part our community," she said.

The celebration will begin at the Utah Olympic Park at 4 p.m. with a free athlete reception followed by a Flying Aces All Star show, which features aerialist flipping into a pool while wearing skis, at 5 p.m.

The Utah Olympic Park will also host a community event on July 28 to celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Clark said more details about the event will be released at a later date.

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