Salt Lake City, Utah, nestled between desert and snow-capped mountains, beckoned with the spirit of friendship and solidarity as the world converged for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, XIX.
"I love everything about the Olympics," observed writer David Waters. "The personal dedication of the athletes. The precision and power of the competitions."
Streaming into the heart of Salt Lake City were over 4,800 athletes and sports officials and 1,200 friends and relatives of athletes. Added to that, at least 25,000 guests of sponsors and 3,400 international Olympic Committee members, special guests, and more.
"It's the equivalent of putting on seven Super Bowls," said NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol.
The Olympic Games give the world a chance to celebrate peace. Olympic Village featured the Peace Pole Path with 80 four-sided Peace Poles representing each participating country.
In the spirit of the ancient Olympic truce (passed in a U.N. resolution to last seven days before and seven days after the 17-day Games), each pole was inscribed with the words: "May peace prevail on Earth" in the language appropriate to the nation it represents.
"The Games are about far more than simply athletic achievement," explained city Mayor Rocky Anderson. "The poles...serve as a symbol of peace among the great diversity of cultures that the Olympics represent."
Celebrate the Olympics, and all they represent.