Creatures Of The Night: Salt
Lake bids a reluctant farewell to Games:
(02/25/02 -- Yahoo!) The
often-contentious 2002 Winter Olympics ended with choruses of Happy Trails
to You and an assessment from International Olympic Committee President Jacques
Rogge that Salt Lake City's effort was ''superb'' and ''inspiring.''
Sunday's closing ceremonies saw the night sky light
up as the curtain came down on these Games, and for
once during the XIX Winter Olympiad the fireworks didn't
involve angry Russians or French skating judges.
A pyrotechnic show launched 10,000 shells in a four-minute
span from 11 different locations stretched over 3.2
miles in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains that
served as the backdrop at Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium.
Carrying the U.S. flag was five-time Olympian Brian
Shimer, driver of the bronze medal team in the four-man
Vice President Dick Cheney entered at the outset with
Rogge and the president of the Salt Lake Organizing
Committee, Mitt Romney, who told the crowd, ''Olympians,
volunteers, spectators, thank you for 17 days we will
Gold medalist figure skaters from past Olympics who
performed on the Olympic stadium ice rink included
Katarina Witt , Kristi Yamaguchi , Ilya Kulick, Scott
Hamilton and a very game Dorothy Hamill. During a Saturday
dress rehearsal, the 1976 women's champion lost her
bearings while skating through an artificial fog bank
and fell on a ramp. She hit her chin and throat and
was treated at a hospital.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt were skating on
a frozen stage while KISS bangs
out "Rock and Roll All Nite."
Other performers included Gloria Estefan, Christina
Aguilera, Harry Connick Jr., Earth, Wind & Fire,
'NSync and Bon Jovi.
The night's colorful Closing Ceremony peaked in the
9 p.m. hour with an average of nearly 44 million viewers
and a 32 share in adults 18-49, highlighted by an eclectic
mix of stars including KISS and
Donny and Marie Osmond.
For all of primetime (including a one-hour Olympics-themed "Dateline" special
at 7), NBC topped its combined ABC-CBS-Fox competition
in both total viewers (roughly 34.2 million vs. 28.8
million) and adults 18-49 (11.4 rating, 27 share vs.
And taking possession of the Olympic flag from Salt
Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson was Sergio Chiamparino, mayor
of Turin, the Italian city that will host the 2006