The spirit of the Games continues to thrive at the University of Utah as today the U unveiled the newly completed Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles Stadium. University of Utah President Taylor Randall, with local, state and Utah Olympic and Paralympic dignitaries, unveiled the new plaza that commemorates the historic Salt Lake 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“Today’s unveiling of the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles Stadium reminds us of our connection to history and is an inspiration for the future,” said Randall. “It also symbolizes the collaborative energies—the fire within—that Utah brought to bear in hosting the successful 2002 Winter Olympics.”
The newly revitalized plaza, costing the U just over $2.4 million, retains and highlights the 2002 Winter Games’ iconic fire and ice theme. The 72-foot-tall cauldron now sits on a pedestal that features a cascading water element. All 738 panes of glass have been replaced and the entire structure is wired with LED lights. The flame mechanisms have also been updated to improve efficiency and reduce emissions when lit.
Eight striking monuments that tell the comprehensive story of the 2002 Winter Games and the Games’ lasting impact in Utah encircle the Cauldron’s base. Several monuments provide detailed athlete lists and the medals won by Team USA. The plaza flag wall features the flags of each country that competed in the Winter Games.
The driving concepts when designing the new plaza were public accessibility and interaction. After the 2002 Games, the cauldron was securely stationed inside the fence line at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Today, the public will be able to visit and interact with the plaza at any time—no ticket required.
In addition to President Randall, celebratory remarks were also given by:
- Spencer F. Eccles, chairman & CEO, George S. & Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and mayor of the Athletes Village, Salt Lake 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
- Senator Mitt Romney, United States Senator for Utah, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
- Catherine Raney Norman, four-time Olympian and chair of the Salt Lake City–Utah Committee for the Games
- Chris Waddell, seven-time Winter and Summer Paralympian, Thirteen-time Medalist; United States Olympic and Paralympic, International Paralympic and US Ski and Snowboard Halls of Fame Inductee
- Fraser Bullock, president and CEO, Salt Lake City–Utah Committee for the Games and COO and CFO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
“It seems impossible that nearly 20 years have flown by since the day we first unveiled the Cauldron here at Rice-Eccles Stadium,” said Spencer F. Eccles, chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. “I still firmly believe what I said then, that this iconic symbol of ‘Salt Lake 2002’ will remain an important reminder of the legacy of the Games, which has continued to enrich the lives of all Utahns. I’m proud and humbled to have been a part of it. The memories and legacy of our Games still burn brightly in our hearts today—and I know they will throughout the future for all those who visit this beautiful Cauldron Plaza.”
“The Olympic Games represent some of the best qualities of the human spirit, and the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles Stadium rekindles that spirit,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, who led the Salt Lake 2002 Organizing Committee. “It was one of the greatest honors of my life to organize the Olympics, and it gives me great pride to reflect back on the past 20 years and see how its legacy still thrives in our state.”
“The Olympic and Paralympic Plaza embodies the amazing triumphs and camaraderie of the athletes who competed in 2002 on Utah’s ice and slopes,” said Catherine Raney Norman, chair, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. “These athletes are now passing on their knowledge to a new generation, making Utah a perpetual destination for world-class training.”
“The Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza captures the spirit and massive success of the athlete-centric Salt Lake 2002 Games,” said Fraser Bullock, president and CEO, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. “Monuments like this burgeon Utah’s reputation as a world capital in sport as we work toward hosting a future Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Watch the full event below: