University of Utah Olympic, Paralympic Cauldron Plaza unveiled at Rice-Eccles Stadium

The Olympic Cauldron from the 2002 Salt Lake Games is shown coming back to Rice-Eccles Stadium. Photo: U of U

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 29, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The University of Utah on Friday unveiled the newly completed Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

University of Utah President Taylor Randall, with local, state and Utah Olympic and Paralympic dignitaries, unveiled the new plaza that commemorates the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, said a news release from the U.

“Today’s unveiling of the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles Stadium reminds us of our connection to history and is an inspiration for the future,” said Randall. “It also symbolizes the collaborative energies — the fire within — that Utah brought to bear in hosting the successful 2002 Winter Olympics.”

The newly revitalized plaza, costing the U just over $2.4 million, retains and highlights the 2002 Winter Games’ fire and ice theme, the news release said. The 72-foot-tall cauldron now sits on a pedestal that features a cascading water element. All 738 panes of glass have been replaced and the entire structure is wired with LED lights. The flame mechanisms have also been updated to improve efficiency and reduce emissions when lit.

“Eight striking monuments that tell the comprehensive story of the 2002 Winter Games and the Games’ lasting impact in Utah encircle the Cauldron’s base,” the news release said. “Several monuments provide detailed athlete lists and the medals won by Team USA. The plaza flag wall features the flags of each country that competed in the Winter Games.”

The driving concepts when designing the new plaza were public accessibility and interaction, the news release said. After the 2002 Games, the cauldron was stationed inside the fence line at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The public will be able to visit and interact with the plaza at any time with no ticket required.

“It seems impossible that nearly 20 years have flown by since the day we first unveiled the Cauldron here at Rice-Eccles Stadium,” said Spencer F. Eccles, chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. “I still firmly believe what I said then, that this iconic symbol of ‘Salt Lake 2002’ will remain an important reminder of the legacy of the Games, which has continued to enrich the lives of all Utahns. I’m proud and humbled to have been a part of it. The memories and legacy of our Games still burn brightly in our hearts today — and I know they will throughout the future for all those who visit this beautiful Cauldron Plaza.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, who led the Salt Lake 2002 Organizing Committee added: “The Olympic Games represent some of the best qualities of the human spirit, and the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at Rice-Eccles Stadium rekindles that spirit. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to organize the Olympics, and it gives me great pride to reflect back on the past 20 years and see how its legacy still thrives in our state.”



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