On Feb. 8, 2002, Salt Lake City welcomed the Olympic Winter Games—and now, more than a decade later, the Utah Olympic Legacy continues to shine. The Salt Lake Chamber recognizes how important the Utah Olympic Legacy has been to our community and our economy. With the beginning of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi this week, we invite everyone to wear 2002 Olympic Winter Games memorabilia starting Saturday, Feb. 8, until the end of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Sunday, Feb. 23.
“We benefit every day from the Olympics and the benefits it brought to this state,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, on The Doug Wright Show earlier in January 2014. He also acted as chief state Olympic officer for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. “How many times did we talk about the long lasting benefits of the Olympics and that we would say thank heavens we had the chance for the Olympics? Even the naysayers have benefited. Even in our day to day activities, we benefit.”
Thanks to the Greatest Snow on Earth and the investment in Olympic facilities including the Utah Olympic Park and the Utah Olympic Oval, also considered the home of the Fastest Ice on Earth, Utah became a prime spot for winter athletes to both train and compete. That reputation continues today with several world championships taking place in Utah this winter, turning out the athletes that will compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Not only that, but residents and visitors continue to enjoy skating, hockey, curling, track, ski jumping and other activities at these locations.
The economic impact alone in Salt Lake City and Utah from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games has been remarkable. The Games yielded $100,000,000 in profits for the Beehive State, which were distributed throughout the community to assist in various capacities, including a $72 million endowment to maintain facilities, $10.2 million for Olympic Legacy Plazas and $11.5 million in charitable donations.
Ever since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Utah’s ski, hotel and lodging industries have enjoyed record-setting years. Utah has seen a 42 percent increase in skier visits since 2002, and direct expenditures from skiers and snowboarders have increased 67 percent from $704 million in 2002-03 to $1.29 billion in 2012-2013.
“The figures are impressive, but they don’t tell the whole story,” Beattie said. “Showing the world just how special this place is has had an immeasurable impact.”
The Chamber would like to encourage everyone to share in showing pride in our Utah Olympic Legacy by wearing 2002 Olympic Winter Games-themed jackets, pins, gloves, hats, etc. According to Beattie, Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic pins are still selling even today.