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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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Salt Lake’s fortitude...

On all 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.

Despite 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.

Beyond the 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.

And why 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 understandable.

But beyond the athletics of the Olympics, an even more important meaning will come out of Salt Lake City.

Hundreds of 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.

As 2,500 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.

Perhaps a 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 proclaimed.

"Let the games begin!"


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.