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2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2002 Winter Olympics
opening ceremony
2002 Winter Olympics flame.jpg
The Olympic Cauldron
Date8 February 2002 (2002-02-08)
LocationSalt Lake City, Utah, United States
Coordinates40°45′36″N 111°50′56″W / 40.76000°N 111.84889°W / 40.76000; -111.84889
Filmed byNBC
The announcement of past Winter Olympic Games.
The announcement of past Winter Olympic Games.
George W. Bush at the Opening Ceremony
George W. Bush at the Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics took place at the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 8 February 2002. U.S. President George W. Bush opened the 2002 Winter Olympics, which took place five months after the September 11 attacks, with: On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation..., then the standard opening formula followed.

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The ceremony

An American Indian Chief during the opening ceremony.
An American Indian Chief during the opening ceremony.
U.S. President George W. Bush takes a phone call from an athlete's family during the opening ceremony.
U.S. President George W. Bush takes a phone call from an athlete's family during the opening ceremony.
The American flag, held by the US Navy
The American flag, held by the US Navy

Prior to the ceremony, the turf inside the stadium was removed and a giant, abstract shaped ice rink, designed by Seven Nielsen, was installed, covering a large part of the stadium floor. Performers would later perform on ice skates, rather than shoes. Music was directed by Mark Watters.[citation needed]

An American flag rescued from the World Trade Center Site on September 11 was carried into the stadium by an honor guard of American athletes and was carried in by firefighters and police officers. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, clad in white sweaters, performed The Star Spangled Banner, the US national anthem, as the flag (the Challenger flag) was raised. The parade of the 2,300 athletes was led by the Child of Light and began traditionally with Greece and ending with the host nation, the United States of America. As the artistic section kicked off, the five native Utah Native American tribes arrived together on horseback and performed several traditional "Welcome" stomp dances. The Dixie Chicks also performed.

The beauty of the Utah landscape was showcased as huge puppets of native Utah animals, including a 15-foot-long bison and the American bald eagle (the national bird and animal of the U.S.), entered the stadium, as well as dancing pioneer settlers as two trains came together on, symbolizing the US railroad industry which was beneficial to Utah's economy beginning in the 1860s, as well as economically linking the Western U.S. and the Eastern U.S. At the end of this segment, the performers unfurled a giant quilt that covered the entire stadium floor with the 2002 Winter Olympics logo in the center.[1] Two figure skaters, Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi and Scott Hamilton performed on the oversized ice rink as "Light the Fire Within," the 2002 Winter Olympic's theme song, was sung by LeAnn Rimes.[1]

After speeches by Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC and Mitt Romney, the CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, the Olympic flame, which had traveled 13,500 miles (21,700 km) was carried into the stadium by gold medalists Dorothy Hamill and Dick Button. They passed it to other pairs U.S. Olympians, who either ran or skated their short relay. Gold medalists in Nagano 1998 Picabo Street and Cammi Granato carried it up the steps to the towering torch where they were met by Mike Eruzione, captain of the miracle on ice hockey team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1980. Eruzione summoned the other members of the team, who together lit the Olympic torch.[2] The Opening Ceremony would win seven Emmy Awards.[1]

While there was a lot of international sympathy for the US in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, there were complaints that the Games were being conducted in an overtly patriotic manner. President Bush received some criticism for departing from the Olympic charter by extending the declaration to open the Games, saying “On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation” before the traditional formula, “I declare open the Games of Salt Lake City”.[3] In addition, the President opened the Games standing among the US athletes, while previous heads of state opened the Games from an official box. NBC's Bob Costas applauded the move during the network's coverage of the Opening Ceremony.

The official box was occupied by the President's Olympic delegation, which featured four future members of their respective sport's Hall of Fame:


  • The opening ceremonies included Grammy Award-winning artist LeAnn Rimes singing "Light the Fire Within," the official song of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • Michael Kamen and Brian May composed a ten-minute orchestral piece, "The Fire Within", with Kamen conducting and May featured on guitar.
  • The Grammy Award-winning Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed the "Star-Spangled Banner", national anthem of the United States, for the opening ceremonies.
  • John Williams composed a five-minute work for orchestra and chorus, "Call of the Champions", that served as the official theme of the 2002 Winter Olympics, his first for a Winter Olympiad. It was performed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra and featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Madeleine Choir School singing the official motto of the Olympic Games "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (Faster, Higher, Stronger). The premiere of the work at the opening ceremonies also corresponded with John Williams's 70th birthday. The work is featured on the CD American Journey, and also on the Choir's recording Spirit of America.


  1. ^ a b c N/A. "CEREMONIES Salt Lake 2002". Archived from the original on December 26, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Salt Lake City Flame Lighting. YouTube (February 19, 2011). Retrieved on August 16, 2013.
  3. ^ MacKay, Duncan (February 15, 2002). "Chariots of ire: is US jingoism tarnishing the Olympic ideal?". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved September 2, 2008.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 January 2019, at 19:27
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