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|| News Item: Posted 2001-10-25

Countdown to Salt Lake City 2002:
Let's Talk Venues!

By Trent Nelson, Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by Rob Schumacher

Photo by Rob Schumacher
I was reading the U.S. Olympic Media Summit 2002 media guide in the shower the other day when I made a chilling discovery- the water was soaking the pages, causing them to stick together. Except for the plastic binder, the whole thing was ruined!

Journalists from all over the world were in town for the Media Summit last week to check things out, meet athletes, and snake as many free meals as they could. If you didn't make it, you missed nearly forty press conferences and the opportunity to photograph your favorite US athlete holding an American flag for four minutes.

Out of great sense of charity, US figure skater Michelle Kwan waited to fire her coach, Frank Carroll, until after the Summit. That way he still got a free trip to Salt Lake City in return for his decade-long efforts.

Behind the scenes, Olympic competition seemed to take second place to issues such as security and the economy. It remains to be seen how many media outlets will be cutting back or eliminating their staffing of the games. Things are so bad there's a rumor that UPI is sending only one photographer, equipped with an Apple QuickTake digital camera and a TRS-80 laptop specially configured to run AOL version 2.0.

But enough silliness. It's time to talk about the Olympic venues.

The fourteen locations you are likely to access in covering the games (eleven competition venues, Olympic Village, Media Center, and the Olympic Medals Plaza) are pretty spread out. In fact, there isn't a single competition venue in walking distance of another unless you've got snowshoes and four hours to kill. I'll break them down into groups by location and give you a little taste of what you're in for.

All Olympic venues are scheduled to be lit at 1/500 @ f2.8, 800 ASA. Most outdoor events are in the morning hours so the light should be nice. The Utah Olympic Park is especially dark during evening events (anything starting from 4pm on). Unless you're doing blurry pan shots, you'll be at 1600 ASA on the bobsled track.

All bus ride times are SLOC estimates on rides from the Main Media Center, and may be impacted by bad weather. But let's face it, part of the fun is when the bus is twenty minutes late and some crazy photographer from Liechtenstein starts freaking out, swearing at the driver in Liechtenstein-ish.


Downtown- If you're covering figure skating or short track speed skating, you've got it made. The Ice Center, Medals Plaza, and Media Center are all within a block of each other. Downtown is also the central location for cultural and public events.

Venue: Salt Lake Ice Center Events: Figure Skating, Short Track Speed Skating. What to Expect: An ice-sheet refrigerant of an oil-mixed RF-26, which is safer than Freon. True, but just kidding. The Ice Center is a great venue for photographers. For spectators, there have been complaints that from a large group of seats you can't see all of the ice.

Venue: Olympic Medals Plaza Events: nightly presentation of medals. What to Expect: As we've said before, this will be a ticketed venue for photographers. SLOC is expecting a full house-20,000 spectators-every night.

Venue: Main Media Center What to Expect: Expensive snack food in vending machines, cranky journalists.


West Valley City

Venue: E Center Events: Ice Hockey Bus Ride: 15 minutes What to Expect: While there will be some photo positions high in the arena, most of them are in front of the glass. That's right, you'll be shooting through the glass-not through holes. They claim to have purchased the "it's-okay-if-you-shoot-straight-ahead" brand of glass. But, is there one? Only in Utah: A few years ago, in an attempt to put its reputation for crime and poverty behind it, West Valley City temporarily renamed itself Best Valley City. The guy who recommended that idea was last seen in Fresno trying to sell "Fres-Yes!" t-shirts on the side of a freeway onramp.



Venue: Utah Olympic Oval Events: Speed Skating Bus Ride: 25 minutes What to Expect: This is a beautiful venue. Make sure you see it at least once. Only in Utah: The city of Kearns is best known for guys with mullet haircuts driving pickup trucks with stickers depicting cartoon characters urinating on Chevrolet or Ford logos. Oh, that and their world-class speed skating oval!


Park City

The Utah Olympic Park, Park City, and Deer Valley will be serviced with a venue-to-venue bus system, making it easy to cover multiple events at these three venues on the same day. There will also be a Nordic Combined shuttle, ferrying people between Soldier Hollow and the Olympic Park.

Venue: Utah Olympic Park Events: Ski Jumping, Bobsleigh, Luge, Skeleton, Nordic Combined Bus Ride: 45 minutes What to Expect: Cold. This place is chilly! Don't get caught without some warm gear, even if the sun is shining. You can also expect to get a workout, either climbing the steep stairs at the ski jump or walking up and down along the bobsled track. There is competition here every day.

Venue: Park City Mountain Resort Events: Giant Slalom, Snowboarding Parallel, Snowboarding Halfpipe Bus Ride: 45 minutes

Venue: Deer Valley Resort Events: Slalom, Freestyle Aerials, Freestyle Moguls Bus Ride: 45 minutes



Photo by Al Hartmann

Photo by Al Hartmann
Venue: Soldier Hollow Events: Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Combined Bus Ride: 75 minutes What to Expect: Soldier Hollow is the most isolated venue, and there is competition here every day after the opening ceremonies. There will be a Kodak film-processing center on-site, making things a little easier for analog photographers.



Venue: The Peaks Ice Arena Events: Ice Hockey Bus Ride: 66 minutes What to Expect: I don't know if the Peaks is using it, but I hear that there are safer ice-refrigerants than Freon.



Photo by Trent Nelson

Photo by Trent Nelson
Venue: The Ice Sheet Events: Curling Bus Ride: 52 minutes What to Expect: Weak curling jokes.

Venue: Snowbasin Ski Area Events: Downhill, Combined Downhill/Slalom, Super-G Bus Ride: 67 minutes What to Expect: If you're not an expert skier, you will not be allowed on the hill. It's not going to be like Nagano where you could hike up on foot. This is a killer course, and non-skiers will be regulated to "finish line" photo positions.


Salt Lake City

Venue: Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium Events: Opening and Closing Ceremonies Bus Ride: 6 minutes

Venue: Olympic Village Bus Ride: 6 minutes

The Salt Lake City games are getting close. As of Halloween, we'll be only 100 days away from all of this actually starting. For next issue I'll try to get more information on security issues and whatever else I can find out.

(Trent Nelson is News Editor for Photography at The Salt Lake Tribune. His e-mail is


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