Olympic anniversary: Main Street closure mentioned
December 2, 2011
People who were in Park City during the 2002 Winter Olympics remember the festivities on Main Street concerts on the street itself, fireworks and pin trading, all with an international flair and all on a Main Street that was closed to traffic for the extent of the Games.
There is a possibility Main Street could again be shut down to traffic to celebrate the Games as plans are being readied to mark February’s 10-year anniversary of the Olympics. The second in command of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, the group that put on the Games, on Wednesday suggested Main Street could be closed to traffic for a celebration, perhaps in the evenings for a weekend.
Fraser Bullock, who was the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the organizing committee, said a giant video screen might be moved into place on Main Street for an anniversary celebration, similar to what was done in 2002.
Bullock and others involved in preparing for the anniversary addressed the media on Wednesday in Salt Lake City, outlining a schedule that is heavy on events in the host city in 2002.
The Olympic flame will be lit again just outside Rice-Eccles Stadium on Feb. 8, the date of the opening ceremonies in 2002. An Olympic Sport Festival is slated at the Gateway in Salt Lake City on Feb. 18. It will honor both the Salt Lake Olympics and the upcoming Summer Olympics in London. A Salt Lake 2002 Stars on Ice Show will skate into Energy Solutions Arena on Feb. 18.
The organizers did not discuss detailed information about events in and around Park City, which hosted roughly half of the athletic competitions during the Games. Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park were major competition venues during the Games.
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"Who could forget all of those wonderful times," Bullock said about Park City during the Olympics, noting the festivities on Main Street in 2002.
Festivities in Park City in February are still being arranged. It seems local anniversary celebrations will be staged alongside winter sports competitions that are scheduled at around the same time as the Olympics were held. A World Cup freestyle skiing competition is slated at Deer Valley, skeleton racers will arrive at the Olympic Park and a snowboarding and freeskiing grand prix is scheduled at Canyons.
An event on Main Street seemed likely even before Bullock’s comments on Wednesday. A date, though, has not been set, and numerous details have not been discussed publicly. City Hall will be heavily involved in the logistical aspects, and the Park City Council would be required to approve a closure of Main Street if it is requested.
The Wednesday event, meanwhile, featured some of the athletes who competed in 2002. Shannon Bahrke, the silver medalist in moguls skiing in 2002, recalled walking into the opening ceremonies and the Salt Lake Olympic motto of "Light the Fire Within." She said she plans to spend time in Park City during the anniversary. She won the silver medal at Deer Valley.
"I will be spreading the Olympic love. I always do," she said.
Olympic organizers anticipated the Games would leave a legacy of wider interest in and participation in winter sports. Bullock on Wednesday said that has been the case, calling Utah the "winter sports capital of the United States" and the "mecca of winter sports."
Speakers on Wednesday also looked back to 2002, mentioning the success of the United States athletes, who won more medals than they ever had before at a Winter Olympics. They also talked about the opening ceremonies and how they honored the tragedy of the Sept. 11 attacks five months before the Games.
"I’ve never seen such unity before . . . It became infectious," Bullock said.