The 2002 Olympics Leave a Powerful Legacy in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – As the 20th anniversary of the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City approaches, a new scientific study has revealed the real impact of the Games on the State of the Hive.
The study illustrated how places like Park City have benefited from hosting the games and what they need to improve.
Park City’s Olympic legacy can be seen from the entrance to the city.
Visitors can see ski jumps and toboggan runs that only exist in a handful of cities around the world.
“You realize right away that this is a place for world class facilities, a place where world class athletes come to engage,” said Travis Dorch, associate professor at Utah State University. .
He studied Park City’s Olympic legacy, which is partly reflected in the numbers.
More than 1,100 athletes from 30 countries train in Utah each year. The Utah Tourism Board said more than 30% of American athletes who participated in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games had some connection to Utah.
Matt Terwillegar, program director at Utah Olympic Park, said, “We produce Olympians, but more importantly, we’re here for the average kid who just wants to learn to ski and have fun, probably the most. important. “
Access to sites like those found in Utah offers world-class opportunities. The study found that this is especially true for young athletes as they try to move up to this elite level, even having a ski jump in their backyard is not enough.
No one knows this better than Root Roepke. “I can actually see the ski jumps from my house,” he said.
As he trained to be on the Junior Olympic Team, he found it increasingly difficult to jump through the hoops of training and travel and pay for it all.
Places are in high demand.
“Unlike normal skiing where you can just go to the resorts and ski when you feel like it is a lot of work getting the slopes forward and we have ski coaches and patrollers, and a lift,” said Roepke, a Nordic combined. athlete.
Dorsch said: “This lack of accessibility, I think, sometimes leads to a lack of direct access or a kind of separation of the haves and have-nots.”
For these same reasons, the study noted a concern about the lack of diversity.
“Diversity is a problem because it’s a winter sport,” Terwillegar said.
Venues and sports leaders are trying to solve this problem by recruiting young athletes from different cultures and offering several scholarships to their families.
The study’s authors believe that being determined to provide these opportunities will help future Olympic bids.
“The Olympics is really, you know, two weeks is great,” said Terwillegar. “But it’s about the children. It’s about what is left for them afterwards and we are a great example of what can be left after for children.