Salt Lake City
Ten years ago last Wednesday marked the start of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
These were the first Olympics with Jacques Rogge as the head of the IOC, the first after the September 11th attacks, and the first in what could be arguably a new age of global awareness for the entire world. These games also proved to be a huge benefit to Salt Lake City and to Utah. The state has been left with no debt; instead the ripple effect from the games have resulted in $56 million net revenue.
But these were also the last games in the United States. And this could cause problems according to USA Today:
"Not having a home Games on the horizon, [USOC CEO Scott Blackmun] says, affects Olympic awareness among fans and impacts to some extent how much sponsor and donor money the USOC raises to train Olympians. Over time, it could diminish how well U.S. athletes perform."
Eventually the games will come back to the United States, and this site hopes that it will be in 2024 in Minneapolis. But if this city isn't chosen, the Olympics are due for a return stateside. Team USA is craving a home field advantage.
Our neighbors to the north still seem to be enjoying the afterglow of the latest Olympics: Vancouver 2010. Two years ago today, Wayne Gretzky lit the Olympic cauldron marking the start of the Vancouver games. The Canucks reigned supreme at the games, claiming their first official gold medal in a home Olympics (they were unable to do so in Montreal in '76 and Calgary in '88) as well as the first Olympics to honor first nations as host nations.
Two years ago tonight audiences must have been wondering if the opening ceremonies could compete with the previous Olympics' ceremonies in Beijing. While they couldn't compete with Beijing 2008 in size, it triumphed in its simplicity, flow, and technical effect. David Atkins (known for the Sydney 2000 ceremonies) created a spectacular show--and did so in an entirely enclosed stadium.
What's next for Canadian Olympics? There might be a Toronto bid on the table for 2024 (the mayor nixed the effort for the 2020 games). For now, though, Toronto might just be content to host the next Pan-American Games in 2015.