The poignant ceremony was held at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium on Feb. 8, 2002, five months after Sept. 11. The two most memorable scenes of the night were drastically different in volume. First, the American flag flown at Ground Zero was brought out amid pin-drop silence. The crowd erupted later when Mike Eruzione and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team emerged to light the cauldron.
2 of 14John Biever/Simon Bruty/SI/Itsuo Inouye/Elaine Thompson/AP/Jim Bourg/Reuters
U.S. Speedskating Triumphs
The U.S. hauled in medals, 34 in total, more than three times its previous best performance and second only to Germany. Eight of those medals came from long-track speedskaters at the Utah Olympic Oval. Casey FitzRandolph, Derek Parra and Chris Witty (top left to right) won gold (Parra a silver, too). Kip Carpenter, Joey Cheek and Jennifer Rodriguez (bottom left to right) each added a bronze (Rodriguez with a pair).
3 of 14John Biever/SI/Steve Munday/Getty Images/David Gray/Reuters
The soul-patch phenomenon swept through Salt Lake City and the nation. With it, Apolo Ohno's chaotic sport, short-track speedskating, reached a new level of popularity. Ohno, 19, won gold in the 1,500 meters when South Korea's Kim Dong-Sung (top right), who crossed the finish line first, was disqualified for impeding Ohno. He added a silver in the 1,000, where a final-turn pileup allowed unlikely Aussie Steven Bradbury (bottom right) to win. Ohno was lauded for his quick thinking to get up and lay his skate blade out to get second.
4 of 14Al Tielemans/SI
Flowers Makes History
A former sprinter at UAB, Vonetta Flowers took up bobsledding and, as a brakewoman, joined driver Jill Bakken. The duo won the first Olympic women's bobsled event. Flowers became the first black athlete to win Winter Olympic gold.
5 of 14Joe Cavaretta/Elise Amendola/AP
The Drought Is Over
Todd Hays (left) and Brian Shimer (far right) piloted four-man teams to the first U.S. men's bobsled medals since the 1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo Games. Hays and USA-1 took silver, and Shimer and USA-2 got bronze. Shimer was brought to tears, and for good reason. He was a 16-year veteran of sledding, competing with Herschel Walker in 1992 and missing bronze by two hundredths of a second in 1998.
6 of 14Juergen Schwarz/Reuters/Nancie Battaglia/SI
For the first time in 54 years, athletes slid on their bellies at the Winter Games. Skeleton made its comeback to the Olympic program, and Americans swept the gold medals. Jim Shea Jr., a third-generation Winter Olympian, memorably celebrated by pulling a picture from his helmet of his grandfather, Jack, who had died a month earlier. Tristan Gale won the first women's skeleton event, and, nine years later, had her gold medal briefly stolen.
7 of 14Damian Strohmeyer/David E. Klutho/SI/Mike Blake/Shaun Best/Reuters
Both gold-medal hockey games saw Canada beat the U.S., giving the home of hockey its first Olympic titles in 50 years. The U.S. men had Herb Brooks behind the bench, but Team Canada had Mario Lemieux wearing the "C," Wayne Gretzky directing the program and the famous "lucky loonie" buried at center ice. The women's final was closer. Canada won 3-2, snapping an eight-game losing streak to Cammi Granato and the American women, who had won the first Olympic women's hockey tournament in 1998.
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The Swiss Wizard
A Harry Potter look-a-like took Park City by storm, winning both the normal- and large-hill ski jumps. Switzerland's Simon Ammann, 20, had never so much as won a single World Cup ski jump event. But he flew out of his mind at the Olympics, beating favorites Adam Malysz and Sven Hannawald and letting off ear-splitting screams at the bottom of the hill each time. Ammann became the first jumper since flying Finn Matti Nykanen to sweep the individual ski jumps.
9 of 14Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images/Andrew Medichini/AP
It's Norway, Barely
In perhaps the greatest Winter Olympic rivalry of that era, Norway edged Italy to win the 4x10-kilometer cross-country relay for the third time in four Olympics. After 92 minutes of racing, Norway's Thomas Alsgaard beat Italy's Cristian Zorzi by little more than a ski tip -- three tenths of a second. It marked the third straight Games that Norway and Italy were separated by less than a half-second.
10 of 14Lori Adamski-Peek/Carl Yarbrough/Heinz Kluetmeier/SI/Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Alpine Glory And Goodbye
American speed queen Picabo Street bid farewell to the Winter Olympics with a 16th in the downhill. New stars would replace her. Bode Miller (top right) won his first Olympic medals, silvers in the combined and the giant slalom, in his go-for-broke style. Croatian sensation Janica Kostelic (bottom left) dominated the technical events, winning three golds and a silver. Meanwhile, veteran Norwegian Kjetil Andre Aamodt (bottom right) bounced back from a medal-less 1998 Games with his sixth and seventh Olympic medals, gold in the combined and super-G. Also notable was 17-year-old Lindsey Kildow, later known as Lindsey Vonn, finishing sixth in the combined.
11 of 14Al Tielemans/Bob Martin/SI/Darron Cummings/AP
The first Olympic snowboarding events were held in 1998, and the U.S. managed two bronze medals. Home halfpipes were much friendlier in 2002. Ross Powers (top) led a U.S. men's sweep, followed by Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas. Kelly Clark (bottom) soared to women's gold.
12 of 14Al Tielemans/Simon Bruty/SI
The Performance Of A Lifetime
Sarah Hughes, a 16-year-old from Great Neck, N.Y., put together one of the defining clutch efforts in Olympic history to win figure skating gold. Hughes was in fourth place going into the long program, but she landed seven triple jumps and two triple-triple combinations in her unbelievable finale. Then, she waited. Teammates Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan couldn't beat her. Russian Irina Slutskaya finished second in the long program, precisely where she needed to for Hughes to ascend to gold. Kwan won the bronze after getting silver in 1998.
13 of 14Doug Pensinger/Timothy A. Clary/Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images/Rick Wilking/Reuters/Laurent Rebours/AP
A Russian won men's figure skating gold for the third straight Olympics. Alexei Yagudin (center) swept first-place marks from the judges, including four 6.0s in the long program. Evgeni Plushenko (top right) won silver and American Timothy Goebel (bottom right) took bronze. The Salt Lake Games also saw the final performances from stalwarts Todd Eldredge (top left) and Elvis Stojko (bottom left), who had seven Olympics between them.
14 of 14Frank Gunn/Georges Bukajlo/AP
The Games were beset by controversy in the pairs figure skating competition. Russians Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze beat Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier in a head-scratching judges decision given the Russians' flawed free skate. For the 11th straight time, a Soviet or Russian duo won pairs gold. Amid public outcry over the results, scrutiny fell on French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne. Le Gougne was one of the judges who voted the Russians over the Canadians for gold. Reports came out that Le Gougne was pressured to favor the Russians in return for boosting a French ice dance couple later in the Games. Sale and Pelletier were elevated to gold in a second medal ceremony.
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