Salt Lake Olympic venues remain a lasting Utah legacy

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A legacy begun by Salt Lake Winter Olympic venues and memorabilia thrives 12 years later, making Utah a unique former Olympic host.

More than a decade ago Utah invested millions of dollars into winter sports to offer a solid bid to host a winter Olympic games. Millions more funded preparations after winning the bid.

After 12 years, the return on this investment keeps giving back to the Utah community and the world through venue use and logo longevity. Park City has held onto the Salt Lake Olympic logo as a main part of its branding, downtown Salt Lake City continues to take pride in its Olympic reminders and the venues continue hosting local youth and professional athletes alike.

Sandy Chio, marketing director for the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, said Utah’s use of its Olympic venues is unique.

“Our venues are being used in a way that is so much beyond similar comparable venues, both of summer and winter games in other cities,” Chio said. “The fact that they are so vibrant, contributing parts to the communities that they were in is huge.”

Chio said in 2002 there were three ice sheets in the state of Utah, but now there are 17.

The Olympic Oval in Kearns now serves as the home to U.S. speed skating governing body, where World Cup championships or Olympic trials are held every year.

Deer Valley Resort in Park City has also hosted regional and world events with the same resources used in 2002. The Freestyle World Cup competition has taken place at Deer Valley every winter since the Salt Lake games. In 2003 and 2011 Deer Valley held the World Cup Championship, becoming the only North American resort to host two such events.

Emily Summers, communications manager for Deer Valley, said the resort has become much more involved with youth ski teams and competitions, especially for freestyle skiing.

“We definitely have a commitment to freestyle skiing,” Summers said.

The Peaks Ice Arena in Provo also has a stronger commitment to Olympic sports since 2002. In light of the Sochi Winter Games, the arena held events this February where skaters could take pictures on the Olympic podium and skate to the 2002 Olympic soundtrack.

“It’s value as an ice venue has continued on, especially in drawing competitions and people to Provo,” recreation director, Scott Henderson, said. “The Peaks Arena has really positioned itself as one of the great success stories for transitioning of Olympic venues.”

By preserving venues and celebrating Olympic logos, Utah has created a lasting legacy out of the 2002 Winter Games. Chio believes this legacy places Utah in a competitive position for hosting a future winter Olympic games.

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