counts, the 17 days in February when Utah hosts the Winter Olympics games
will be historic and unique, but, more, a tribute to good ol’ American
persistence and fortitude.
foreboding created by the Sept. 11 suicide terrorist attacks, Utahans, who
had worked through the scandal of alleged Olympic committee bribery offers
and put their shoulders to raising local and federal funds to make the
games lavish, never wavered in their determination to forge on.
grandeur of the games themselves, tens of thousands of fans from around
the world showing up for this winter spectacle will experience an
unprecedented setting ¾ combat-ready jet fighters patrolling skies over
the events, armored police vehicles parked near the 10 competition venues,
security forces in record numbers, extraordinary screening hurdles for
spectators, and the use of distant "gateway" satellite airports
to clear corporate jets headed for Salt Lake City.
As The New
York Times characterized the Salt Lake City atmosphere, it "might be
the safest place on earth" because of more than $300 million in
security ¾ triple the security costs of Atlanta’s 1996 summer Olympics.
not? The bombing in Atlanta during the ’96 games and then last year’s
kamikaze attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made
extraordinary security for the Olympics inevitable, costly and
the athletics of the Olympics, an even more important meaning will come
out of Salt Lake City.
millions of people around the world who’ll view some or all of the games
on television will be instantly jolted by an inescapable thought ¾ that
the United States and other nations sending teams to the winter games
could not be cowered into submission by the horror of terrorists.
athletes from at least 35 competing nations do their stuff in quest of
cherished medals of Olympic excellence, the message will be powerful:
among civilized people, rivals pit their skills against each other with
intelligence and without bloodshed or hate.
few terrorists and their patrons who had hoped to cripple the Olympic
games with fear will come out of their dark hiding places to watch the
opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City.
If so, then
they’ll hear words of rebuke they could not prevent from being
the games begin!"