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|| News Item: Posted 2001-06-29

Countdown to SLC 2002
By Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by
In 220-something days the 2002 Winter Olympic Games will kick off in Salt Lake City. Hard to picture it right now, since it's nearly 100 degrees here today and my neighbor's prized candle collection has melted. Yet it's true -- soon enough quite a few of you will be wandering around Utah in big coats, trying to keep your fingers and batteries warm in your snow-covered photo positions.

It's a long way from the Sydney GamesWe don't have crocodiles, dundees, or koala bears. The zoo even got rid of Shasta, the liger (father a lion, mother a tiger). She so endeared herself to Salt Lake that upon her death she was stuffed and remained on display at the zoo for more than twenty years. I am not making this up! Even in the absence of a stuffed Shasta, you will find Utah to be one of the most beautiful scenic locations in the world.

Since my audience is made up of journalists and photographers, let's answer your most pressing question: Can I get drunk in Utah? The answer to that question is a resounding NO! Just kidding. You can get loaded here. It just takes some effort. I'll try to break it down.

Private Club = Bar. Private clubs are members-only establishments, though if you just walk in it's almost a certainty that a member will sponsor you as a guest. You can buy a two-week membership for around $5, but that membership will only work at the private club you purchased it from.

Restaurants. Alcohol may be served, but only if you order a meal. You may need to ask for a drink list-- servers are not permitted to solicit drinks.

Brew Pubs & Taverns. These locations are limited to weak beers (3.2%). The food and atmosphere is often great and there are no membership hassles.

Utah State Liquor Stores. These locations are the only places to get liquor, wine, and real beer for take home purposes. They are closed on Sundays.

Got that figured out? Sure you do. One other legal point of reference: Sex outside of marriage is a Class B misdemeanor. Thank you for coming, and have a great Olympics!

On to the sports photography-type stuff

Photo by
After last week's SLOC meeting my boss has a new mantra: "Lost photo armbands will not be replaced! If you lose it, you're done shooting competition." Make sure you keep track of your party, I mean, Olympic armband at all times.

If you would like to arrive without any worries about covering things, skip down two paragraphs. Medals will not be handed out at competition venues. Except for a couple of exceptions all Olympic medals will be handed out nightly at the Medals Plaza downtown. (Turn on the sarcasm now.) The real nice thing about this plan is that the athletes will have all day to calm down after winning the gold and will be more likely to remain composed on the podium. I mean there's no sense giving them the medal immediately after they've won it and are completely caught up in the emotion of the moment. (Sarcasm off.)

To make this Medals Plaza idea even more fun, there will only be 50 photo positions, and only the first 50 photographers to show up will be let in. So if your hometown hero wins a medal, be ready to hustle downtown for a spot in line and a long wait for the medal ceremony. Awesome!

I think the Salt Lake City games are going to be great. The venues are nice, the test events went as well as could be expected, and photo positions were good. And of course I always look forward to another chance to sit on a bus while journalists from around the world scream obscenities at the driver.

See you in February.

(Trent Nelson is the news editor for photography at The Salt Lake Tribune. He will be shooting all competition at the Utah Olympic Park (ski jumping, bobsled, luge, skeleton) and whatever else he can fit in.)

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