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Salt Lake City 2002

Expanding programme

The Games saw the expansion of the Olympic programme to 78 events, including the return of skeleton and the introduction of women's bobsleigh. Athletes from a record 18 National Olympic Committees earned gold medals, including first-ever golds for China and Australia.

Nordic gold

Samppa Lajunen of Finland became the first Nordic combined athlete to win three gold medals at one Games. He entered the 15km cross-country phase of the individual event in third place and easily made up ground to win the gold. In the team event, he anchored Finland to victory, then added another gold in the sprint.

Memorable firsts

By taking the silver medal in singles luge, Georg Hackl of Germany became the first person in Olympic history to earn a medal in the same individual event five times in a row. In the women’s bobsleigh, Vonetta Flowers of the US became the first black athlete to earn winter gold, while ice hockey player Jarome Iginla of Canada followed as the first black male winner.

Ski jump surprise

Having never previously won a World Cup event, Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann rose from obscurity to win the normal hill in a closely fought contest. Four days later, he proved victory was no fluke by storming to victory on the large hill with the best jump in each round.

NOCs: 77
Athletes: 2,399 (886 women, 1,513)
Events: 78
Volunteers: 22,000
Media: 8,730 (2,661 written press, 6,069 broadcasters)

New on the programme

For the first time, women's bobsleigh was part of the programme with the two-person event.


There were two events - one for men and one for women. The event was held for the first time at the 1928 Games in St Moritz, Switzerland.

New technology for the judges

Introduction of instant video replay in figure skating.

An oval almost in the sky

1,425m is the altitude of the Utah Olympic Oval, the highest covered oval in the world.

Two olympic champions

Two golds were awarded in pairs figure skating rather than a gold and a silver. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided to award Jamie Salé and David Pelletier from Canada a gold medal in the figure skating, pairs competition in Salt Lake City. Following a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge, International Skating Union (ISU) President Ottavio Cinquanta called an ISU Council meeting on 14 February, following the figure skating, men's free skate, competition. The ISU Council decided to suspend Judge Marie Reine Le Gougne for misconduct and to recommend to the IOC Executive Board that it also award a gold medal to Jamie Salé and David Pelletier. The IOC Executive Board agreed with and accepted the recommendation from the ISU to award the gold medal. The IOC Executive Board thanked the ISU Council for its speedy resolution of the matter for the sake of the athletes involved and those still to compete.

For the first time

Estonia and Croatia won their first medal in Olympic Winter Games history.

USA in bobsleigh

With two medals in the four-man competition, the United States won its first medal in men's bobsleigh since 1956.

Gold for China and Australia

China and Australia won their first gold medal in Olympic Winter Games.


Salt Lake City, 8 February 2002. Climax of the Opening Ceremony.

Official opening of the Games by:
President George W. Bush

Lighting of the Olympic Flame by:
The American ice hockey team, gold medal winners in Lake Placid, 1980.

Olympic Oath by:
Jim Shea (skeleton)

Officials' Oath by:
Allen Church (Alpine skiing)

Salt Lake City 2002 Emblem

It represents a stylised snow crystal with bright colours - yellow, orange and blue. These are the colours found in the Utah landscape. Under the picture, on top of the Olympic rings, are the words "Salt Lake 2002". The theme conveyed by these graphic elements is threefold: Contrast, Culture and Courage. Contrast symbolising the Utah landscape - from the arid desert to the snowy mountains; Culture representing the different cultures which make the region the exceptional heritage of America; and Courage reflecting the spirit of the athletes - the very essence of the Games. This theme followed the feeling of the inhabitants of Utah who wanted the emblem to reflect the diversity of the landscape and heritage of their region, as well as the Olympic spirit. Graphic designers were then contacted to find the right way to translate the ideas of the local community into a visual form. A creative exploration which gave rise to more than 1,200 projects.

Salt Lake City 2002 Medals

The gold and silver medals weigh 567 grammes (20 ounces) and are the heaviest Olympic medals ever created. The bronze medals weigh 454 grammes (16 ounces). For the first time in Olympic history, the medals vary for each sport, featuring 16 unique artists' renderings. On the front of the medals, an athlete bursts from flames carrying a torch, representing the resilience of the human spirit and the power to inspire. The figure has triumphed over adversity and is thus released from a mountain of ice and rock. The Olympic Rings anchor the image of the athlete, while the 2002 Games' theme, "Light the Fire Within" is etched into the medal, marking the first time that an organizing committee's vision statement is included on a medal. On the back of the medals, Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, holds a small victory leaf, symbolizing the olive wreaths that were presented to winners of the ancient Olympic Games. Within Nike's embrace is an illustration of the event for which each medal is being presented. Also imprinted on the back of each medal is the Salt Lake 2002 crystal emblem and the name of the event. At the base of the ribbon loop is the Roman numeral XIX, signifying the XIX Olympic Winter Games. The medals are designed in the shape of river rocks, like those found in Utah's streams and rivers. Part modern and part rustic, they embody the spirit of the American West from the forging of the West to the technological present. Each medal is hand-finished and is slightly different from the other medals similar to individual rocks sculpted by water and wind.

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Salt Lake City 2002 Mascots
Powder, Copper and Coal

The names Powder, Copper and Coal are an allusion to Utah's natural resources, its snow and its land. Over 42,000 schoolchildren gave their advice on the mascots' names. The Organising Committee then launched a national vote to determine their final names. Other options were Sky, Cliff, Shadow and Arrow, Bolt, Rocky.

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Salt Lake City 2002 Torch

Number of torchbearers: 12 012 in the United States and 41 in Greece
Total distance: 21 725 km in the United States and 368 km and 8 nautical mile in Greece
Countries crossed: Greece, United States

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Salt Lake City 2002 Poster

Polychrome poster composed of a photo representing a flag carrying the logo of the XIX Olympic Winter Games. The flag floats above the mountaintop in the background. Publisher: SLOOC; Fine Art, Saint-Louis.

Salt Lake City 2002 Official Reports

The official report of Salt Lake City 2002 is composed of two large-format volumes and a CD-ROM. Volume 1, “Official report of the XIX Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake 2002”, was published in two versions – French and English. Volume 2, “The fire within: 12 photographers' quest to capture the Olympic spirit” is available in English only. The CD-ROM provides the competition results in a bilingual version.

  • Salt Lake City 2002
    • Salt Lake City 2002

      12 Mar 2014 |
      The official report of Salt Lake City 2002 is composed of two large-format volumes and a CD-ROM. Volume 1, “Official report of the XIX Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake 2002”, was published in two versions – French and English. Volume 2, “The fire within: 12 photographers' quest to capture the Olympic spirit” is available in English only. The CD-ROM provides the competition results in a bilingual version.



Re-live Salt Lake City 2002!


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Salt Lake City 2002-Opening Ceremony-the Salt Lake 2002 logo.
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Salt Lake City 2002-Opening Ceremony-The Olympic flag entering the stadium.
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Salt Lake City 2002-Opening Ceremony-Finale, Light TheFire Within : fireworks on the athletes' tiers.
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Salt Lake City 2002-Opening Ceremony-The Flame burningin the Olympic Stadium's cauldron.
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Opening Ceremony

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 8: Speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen during carry the olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games on February 8, 2002 at the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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OLY Opening Ceremony X

15 Feb 2002: Karine Ruby of France receives her silver medal in the women's snowboard parallel giant slalom at the medal awards ceremony at the Olympic Medals Plaza during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

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