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Former Park City official reflects on planning 2002 Olympics

Switzerland's Sonja Nef brushes past a gate during the 1st run the women's giant slalom in Park City Friday, Feb. 22, 2002 at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Alessandro Trovati
Switzerland's Sonja Nef brushes past a gate during the 1st run the women's giant slalom in Park City Friday, Feb. 22, 2002 at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Utah welcomed the world 22 years ago for its first Winter Olympics. Now the state awaits an IOC decision on a second Olympic Games.

KPCW looks back on the 2002 Olympics and what it took to host the Games.

Myles Rademan was Park City’s Planning Director in the late 1980s and remembers when then Park City Mayor Brad Olch pitched bringing the Games to Utah; an undertaking that would take almost 15 years of planning.

“I remember him coming into my office, it must have been 1988, maybe 1987. He said he got a call from some people in Salt Lake and they were talking about bidding again for the Games. Salt Lake had bid for the Games in the ‘60s, but never got them.”

Rademan said Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Games in 1995 and had seven years to prepare.

“I think the success of our games in 2002 was attributable to 50%. great planning and 75% incredible luck.”

Before 2002, Rademan said, Park City had experience hosting big events like the Sundance Film Festival and World Cup skiing events at the then Park City Ski Area.

In preparation for the Games, he and other Utah officials attended five Olympics to learn from other countries. Rademan explained one of the biggest factors in a successful Games was having community support.

“Are we willing to welcome the world here and act as hosts? That all has to do with hospitality, being hospitable. And making sure that we do welcome people and we make them comfortable and safe.”

He said while Park City had the venues for the Games, the town’s primary role was to host the party.

“The scene is very important. And it includes things like pin trading, and bands and celebrations, because really what you're trying to do is you're trying to present an aura of peace, and people coming together, and, and striving for the best they can.”

Rademan also touched on recent Olympics in comparison to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake.

“We had trash can bands and, and marching bands of kids and so forth. It was a real down home kind of celebration. And I think unfortunately, in the years since we did the Games, the Olympics kind of lost some of their luster,” he said. “I think we have a chance now again, to reinvigorate the Olympic movement, about the things that we care about sustainability, community, hospitality.”

Olympic officials’ tour of Utah ends Saturday [April 13].

The IOC will select a host for the 2034 Games on Pioneer Day, July 24, before this year’s Summer Games in Paris.

To hear Rademan's full interview on the Local News Hour click here.