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Salt Lake puts on Olympic face

Salt Lake puts on Olympic face

“This is the place,” is putting on its Olympic face.

As the Feb. 8 start of the Winter Games approaches, banners are being installed on a dozen high-rise buildings that are part of the Salt Lake City skyline, including the 28-story Church Office Building.

Crews hang a portion of an Olympic banner on the Church Office Building on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2002.

Crews hang a portion of an Olympic banner on the Church Office Building on Tuesday. Jan. 15, 2002.

Credit: Kevin Lee, Deseret News

The image of a figure skater some 21 stories high on the Church Office Building will join that of other winter sports athletes on nearby buildings. A banner that was to be installed on the west side of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building was moved to the Museum of Church History and Art, said Kathy Hunter, host city coordinator of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. She said that the historic nature of the Smith building made it impossible for it to hold a banner, despite some very creative approaches.

“The banners are very exciting,” she said.

One of the larger images will be the Olympic rings to be placed on the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City. The rings will stand 160 feet high and be illuminated with 1,850 lights. Another part of Salt Lake’s Olympic face was unveiled Jan. 8 — the caldron that will hold the Olympic Flame. The 117-foot glass and steel tower is eye-catching as it towers above the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, home of the opening ceremonies.

Organizers said they are waiting as long as possible to complete the project to avoid weather damage.

Mitt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, quipped, “We got 90 percent of the job done on time. The other 90 percent we are still working on.”

Lane Beattie, state Olympic officer, said the banners are going up slowly because the organizers want the banners to be “crisp and good looking” during the Games. They also want to capitalize on the emotions and feelings, giving the city a fresh look as the Games near.

He said the locations were selected strictly from a visual perspective, so the banners could be seen from the medals plaza, located two blocks west of Temple Square, and by people entering the city.

Much of the preparation work is done. “From an organizational point of view, we are in a tremendous position,” he said.

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