Whether it was exchanging pins with a Japanese camera crew, working out
with Ukrainians and Poles at the Field House, or waving at Italian ice
dancers outside of the Olympic Village, one of the benefits of the Us
participation in the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was the
interaction with international visitors. Nowhere was that more apparent
than at the Alumni House, which was transformed during the month of February
into the German House.
The transformation was obvious to anyone who passed by the housethat month
The large Deutsches Haus banners, globed lighting, red
carpeting (okay, plastic turf), scaffolding, and long trailers out front
indicated the presence of the German Sports Marketing Group. But within
the front doors, the group, who used the house as their headquarters for
administrative work, receptions, media briefings, and athlete contact,
made even more extensive alterations.
Two architects directed the assembly of a temporary television studio
behind the Alumni House, along with three office units, one of which was
used by a sports psychologist. A hardwood floor was temporarily installed
on the houses dining room floor, and three meals, including a buffet
dinner, were served daily by a catering staff and two chefs. One alumni
reception room became a press conference room and a business lounge, while
the other reception room became an athletes lounge. Flags, flowers,
neon lights, and six big-screen televisions added to the festive feel,
as did the presence of an especially large trailer out frontfor
Theyve told me this is the best facility theyve had,
says John Fackler, director of business relations for the Alumni Association.
The German hosts and hostesses put it to good use, holding receptions
for the German ambassador to the United States, the bishop of Salt Lake
Citys Catholic diocese, George Niederauer, and the mayors of Frankfurt
and Dusseldorf, among others. In addition, German athletes who won medalsand
there were many, Germany being first in the medal countcame to the
house for press conferences and late-night celebrations. German athletes,
opera stars, and officials mingled with representatives of other countries
delegations, invited guests, and, occasionally, the Alumni Association
The staff continued working through the Games in the one administrative
section of the house. Since the main purpose of the house was to
give German athletes a place they could relax undisturbed, we tried to
stay out of their way, says Debbie Tucker, manager of the Alumni
House. Tucker arranged custodial, parking, and security needs for the
Germans, and connected them with dry cleaners, dentists, and doctors,
as well. They were very interested in the U, says Tucker,
noting that a few who attended a Runnin Utes game were especially
taken with Swoop.
In March, the Alumni House welcomed the Canadian Paralympic team, which
used a much smaller portion of the house during the Paralympic Games.
Still, the chance to meet and mingle with other countriesand the
rental feeswere worth any extra effort, according to the Alumni
Association staff. As Fackler notes, It was a blast.
FIRST DRAFT OF HISTORY
by Matt Canham, Editor in Chief, The Daily Utah Chronicle
jobs were as interesting as mine. I was paid to bug theathletes, to ask
them who they are and what makes them unique. Then I turned around and
told 2,499 of their friends.
The Salt Lake Organizing Committee contracted with the University of Utah
to produce a village newspaper. The U then handed the Postscripts to the
2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games assignment to me and my staff
at The Daily Utah Chronicle. We produced the Olympic Record seven
days a week for the athletes staying in the Olympic and Paralympic Villages.
While I wasnt excited
about handing over the editorial freedom I normally enjoy with The
Chronicle, I needed the money and I thought it would be neat to meet
some of the athletes.
In the end, the experience far surpassed my limited expectations.
Walking into the village was walking into an alternate universe. All of
the people wore their nationality in big bright letters on their jackets
and shirts. Pins replaced money. Buildings replaced countries. And the
political tensions that exist between many nations disappeared under an
enormous amount of mutual respect and sportsmanship.
All of this took me off guard. As a naive Utah native, I had no idea what
to expect wandering the grounds of the Olympic Village. What I found were
some incredibly interesting people. The most exciting part of my job was
meeting these superhuman athletes on a human level. I loved seeing the
reunion of two luge athletes, one from India, the other from South Korea,
who became friends at the Nagano Games. They lost track of each other,
and four years later met up while waiting for a welcoming ceremony to
Philip Boit, a cross-country skier, represented Kenya as the countrys
only Winter Olympian. He was competing in his second Games. His wife had
their third child while he trained in Finland just weeks before his competition.
They named the little girl Olympia after the Salt Lake Games.
Natalia Ponomareva from Uzbekistan broke her foot in an accident three
weeks before the Games began. When her doctor told her she shouldnt
skate for at least six to eight weeks, she responded, How about
two days? She competed in the pairs figure skating competition despite
Few people around the world had the opportunity to hear these stories
because they came from the low-profile athletesthose who compete
for the love of the sport, those who embody the true Olympic spirit.
With the politics and scandals that surrounded the organization of the
Winter Olympics, it is easy to see the Games as a corporate monster. In
fact, I felt a little jaded before the Games, but after being able to
meet the competitors and to see the experience from their respective vantage
points, I have a renewed interest in the Olympic Movement. I also have
a new-found sense of pride about the University of Utahs involvement,
as well as my own, in the Salt Lake Games.
by Christopher Nelson, Health Sciences Center
While they didnt win any medals or set a world record, the dream
team of the University of Utahs medical community left its mark
on the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
For 50 days, more than 200
of the top faculty and staff from the Universitys Health Sciences
Center operated and staffed the 24-hour-a-day Polyclinic inside the Olympic
and Paralympic Villages. In the end, more than 2,000 athletes, coaches,
officials, and other international visitors received care for everything
from bruises and sprains to respiratory infections and even a heart attack.
The most popular services, as expected, were dentistry and eye care.
Looking back, I cant believe how naive we were to think we
could pull this off, says Mark R. Elstad, Polyclinic medical director
and associate professor of internal medicine. It turns out ignorance
was on our side. The clinic was a massive, exhausting effort. Our planning
paid off, thoughthings couldnt have gone better. Elstad
and his staff received rave reviews for their performance. Most notably,
members of the International Olympic Committees Medical Commission
called the Salt Lake Polyclinic the best ever, specifically complimenting
the friendly, accommodating staff. The clinic also came in under its predicted
$2.2 million budget, according to William Holt BS88 MPA93,
a University Hospital administrator who served as Polyclinic director.
The biggest pre-Games concernfear of a potential influenza outbreak
in the villagedidnt develop, in part because of improved screening
methods. For the first time in Olympic history, Polyclinic visitors who
complained of flu-like symptoms were tested for the virus, as part of
a study done in collaboration with Merle A. Sande, professor of internal
medicine at the U. One of the most important successes of the Games
from a medical perspective was being able to say definitively hat there
was no influenza outbreak, says Elstad. In Nagano, people
had runny noses, headaches, and respiratory symptoms. No one did any diagnostic
testing to know who had the flu and who didnt. The media picked
up on the story and a flu outbreak is now part of Naganos legacy.
The Salt Lake Polyclinic did receive its share of media coverage. The
Washington Post and The Denver Post both ran positive, in-depth
stories about the clinic, and the European Broadcasters Union aired
a story about the clinic to 65 European TV stations.
Both Elstad and Holt have mixed emotions about the closing of the Polyclinic.
The two have been involved in Olympic-related planning for the University
and Polyclinic since 1997. Stuart E. Willick, an assistant professor of
physical medicine and rehabilitation, was
also heavily involved in planning for the Paralympic Polyclinic.
There was such a good energy surrounding these Games, says
Holt. The University staff and community volunteers who worked at
the Polyclinic really fed off the international spirit in the village.
There were so many Olympic moments we all experienced. I dont think
any of us will ever be the same.
It was a tremendous experience, but Im exhausted, admits
Elstad. He expects to be asked to make a number of Olympic-related presentations
to various medical groups over the next year. He also predicts a number
of papers will be published based on data collected during both games.
If asked to do it again, Holt says the only thing hed do differently
is order more food for the Polyclinic break room. The meals SLOC
provided for the volunteers were terrible, he says. Needless
to say, the break rooms food supply was raided very early on in
Photos by Peter Gross
Alfred C. Emery,
83, BS40 JD47, president emeritus of the University
and distinguished professor emeritus of law at the S.J. Quinney
College of Law. Emery, the first alumnus to serve as president (1971-73),
was a faculty member for 40 years, acting dean of the law school
(1961-62), and vice president for academic affairs (1965-67) before
becoming president. He is remembered as a committed professor, defender
of academic integrity, and an administrator who helped build the
modern campus. The 1901 classroom building southwest of the Park
Building on Presidents Circle was named for Emery in 1980.
Lionel H. Frankel, 70, professor emeritus of law at the S.J.
Quinney College of Law. Frankel, who joined the U faculty in 1966,
founded the Innocence Project, a program dedicated to helping death
row inmates who could be proven innocent.
Frank Sanguinetti, 84, director of the Utah Museum of Fine
Arts for 35 years. Sanguinetti transformed a small collection of
art in the Park Building into a 74,000-square-foot museum with a
collection valued at $24 million (see Continuum, Fall 2001).