Utah Olympic Park kicks off summer with Olympic Day
Though many consider summer to begin after Memorial Day, and the season officially starts on June 21, Utah Olympic Park spokesman Kole Nordmann says it’s not summer until Olympic Day.
The annual celebration of the Olympic spirit, which is celebrated nationally and internationally, marks the beginning of the park’s influx of summer visitors on June 22.
“Once we get into what I call ‘show season,’ then the park really starts to pick up in attendance, and every day it’s really busy here,” Nordmann said.
Olympic Day itself consists of Olympic-themed activities and demonstrations, including appearances and autograph signings by Olympians, though just who will be there has not been finalized yet.
The celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Nordic flats portion of the park at the base of the ski jumps.
Families can get their faces painted, enjoy inflatable bounce castles, or participate in activities like a curling demonstration and the laser biathlon..
Nordmann said the curling demonstration uses special stones that participants can slide over Plexiglass.
“You don’t get a full-on experience of curling like you would on ice, but you’re able to get the general idea and learn about the scoring system when you and your friends throw your stones,” Nordmann said.
In the laser biathlon demonstration, participants engage in a brief calisthenics session to raise their heart rate, “like they do in the big leagues,” Nordmann said, before taking aim at five targets with a laser gun while lying prone.
The National Ability Center will also host a booth where visitors can try a recumbent bike or a hand cycle, a popular activity last year.
Nordmann said the Nordic flats will allow more room than the previous year’s celebration in the plaza near the entrance to the Alf Engen Museum, which will also be open and available to visitors.
As for vendors, Toyota is scheduled to bring a booth, as will the Utah Golf Association, which is joining Olympic Day because golf will be showcased at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
At 1 p.m. the Flying Ace All-Star Freestyle show will begin at the training pool, where elite skiers ramp into the water through a choreographed show.
Admission to the show is $15 for those over 12 years old and $10 for visitors under 12.
Nordmann said he is excited for the day.
“It’s one of my favorite events every year,” he said. “It’s the unofficial official start to summer for us even though the summer season started almost a month ago now. It really signals to me that summer is here. It’s a really fun event and I love putting it on, and have a great time doing it every year.”
For more information go to utaholympiclegacy.org.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.