(Redirected from 2002 Winter Olympic Games)
The XIX Olympic Winter Games were held in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Other candidate cities were Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Ístersund, Sweden.
Prior to these Olympic Winter Games, a number of I.O.C members were forced to resign after it was uncovered that they had accepted inappropriately valuable gifts in return for voting for Salt Lake City to hold the Games. New IOC president Jacques Rogge and new CEO of the Salt Lake Games Mitt Romney then staged the Games and contended with the public opinion backlash due to the scandal.
- For full details, see: 2002 Winter Olympic bid scandal.
The September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack also required a higher level of security than ever before provided for an Olympiad. Homeland Security designated the Olympics a National Special Security Event. During the opening ceremonies, Rogge, presiding over his first olympics as IOC president, told the athletes of the host country that that they were overcoming the "horrific tragedy" and stand with them in their ideals.
Controversies continued into the Games. In the first week the pairs figure skating competition resulted in the French judge's scores being thrown out and the Canadian team of Jamie SalÚ and David Pelletier being awarded a second gold medal. Athletes in short-track speed skating and cross-country skiing were disqualified for various reasons as well (including doping), leading Russia and South Korea to file protests and threaten to withdraw from competition.
Olympic flame at Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies.
Competition highlights were biathlete Ole Einar Bj°rndalen, winning gold in all four men's events (10 k, 12.5 k, 20 k, 4 x 7.5 relay), Simon Ammann of Switzerland taking the double in ski jumping, and alpine skier Janica Kostelić winning three golds and a silver (the first Winter Olympic medals ever for an athlete from Croatia).
Skeleton returned as a medal sport in the 2002 Games for the first time since 1948.
A feature of these Games has been the emergence of the so-called "extreme" sports, such as snowboarding, moguls and aerials, which appeared in previous Olympic Winter Games but have captured greater public attention this year.
One of the most memorable stories of the event occurred at the short-track speed skating. Australian skater Steven Bradbury, an honest competitor who had previously won a bronze as part of a relay team but well off the pace of the medal favourites, cruised off the pace in his semifinal only to see his competitors crash into each other, allowing him through to the final. Bradbury was again well off the pace, but lightning struck again and all four other competitors crashed out in the final, leaving a jubilant Bradbury to take the most unlikely of gold medals, the first for Australia or any Southern Hemisphere country in a Olympic Winter Games event.
Finally, the Canadian men's ice hockey team defeated the American team 5-2 to claim the gold medal and end a drought that lasted 50 years to the day. The Canadian women's team also defeated their American counterparts 3-2 after losing to them at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano and at all 8 exhibition games prior to the Salt Lake Games.
Top medal-collecting nations:
(for the full table, see 2002 Winter Olympics medal count)
- IOC Site on 2002 Winter Olympics (http://www.olympic.org/uk/games/past/index_uk.asp?OLGT=2&OLGY=2002)
- Host's official website (http://www.saltlake2002.com)