The Park Record editorial, February 8-10, 2012
Prior to securing the bid to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, there was a lot of soul searching and hand wringing about how such a daunting endeavor would affect our community. Would the costs outweigh the benefits? Could we pull it off? Would the investment in time and energy be good for the whole community, or just a select few?
They were important debates and, having never attempted a task of that magnitude, the answers, at the time, were far from clear. But now that we have jumped through those hoops, we can say with confidence that hosting the world was a privilege, one that resonated throughout the community and left lasting benefits.
We would do it again in a heartbeat.
The legacies of the 2002 Games can be measured in both concrete and philosophical terms. Local residents regularly enjoy many Olympic-related infrastructure improvements including the Main Street Transit Center, the Olympic logo-festooned Interstate 80 interchange at Kimball Junction and the U.S. 40 flyover at Silver Creek Junction.
The athletic facilities that were built specifically to meet Olympic criteria are now popular public amenities that are helping to launch the next generation of elite skiers, bobsled, luge and skeleton athletes, and snowboarders.
The Park City School District also shared in the Olympic bounty. Many local schools rented facilities to the Olympic Organizing Committee and have since plowed those endowments back into educational programs and facilities.
But beyond the tangible benefits, Summit County citizens gained some less visible yet equally valuable benefits. As county Public Works Director Kevin Callahan aptly noted, preparing for the Olympics required intensive interagency cooperation and the connections forged during the run-up to the Olympics continue to serve citizens on the state, county and municipal levels.
There is something else that remains, even to this day, a decade after we held our breath, hoped for the best and lit the Olympic torch. It is apparent in the warmth of our collective memories, in the pride we take in pointing out our Olympic landmarks, and in the confidence we have when undertaking tough new challenges. Being selected as an Olympic host is now an indelible part of our identity.
Would we do it again? Absolutely.
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