SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Spring 2002)
Cedar City's Olympic Celebration
SUU Hosts Olympic Torch in Eccles Coliseum
The Olympic spirit took on an SUU and Cedar City flavor Feb. 5 when a campus and community celebration welcomed the Olympic Torch Relay to town at the Greek-inspired Eccles Coliseum.
The Utah Summer Games, which were inspired after founder Gerald R. Sherratt ('51, and President Emeritus) attended the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, spearheaded the Cedar City/SUU event. On Feb. 5, the Olympic Torch was preceded into the Coliseum by a procession of color and pageantry that included gold medalists from previous Utah Summer Games. A parade of flags from the nations of the world was carried by students, elected officials and community members. A giant American flag was unfurled on the field, providing a patriotic background for the Olympic Torch and the lighting of the cauldron atop the Legacy Monument.
SUU's Eccles Coliseum and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have now been joined by Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City as the only football stadiums in the world to have both a cauldron and the Olympic marks.
Some 6,000 Iron County school children sang two numbers-"Light the Dream" and "See us Shine"-as part of Cedar City's celebration. The songs, by Kurt Bestor and Sam Cardon, were written as part of the Governor's Olympic Music Program designed to celebrate the spirit and values of the Olympic Games. Gov. Michael O. Leavitt ('78 Business Technology), and his wife Jacalyn (Smith) ('73) arrived by helicopter to take part in the celebration.
Following the program, the cauldron was extinguished, and then re-lit by the USG torch. That flame burned throughout the Olympic Games.
The Torch Relay and accompanying celebration were two of several ways the University took part in the once-in-a-lifetime Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics. A handful of faculty and staff, and students volunteered as hosts, drivers and in a variety of other capacities. A dozen students trained for months prior, and then helped produce the ongoing international broadcast of the Games. SUU's own American Folk Ballet performed in the Cultural Olympiad. Eight Cedar City residents were selected to carry the Olympic Torch including Ron Cardon ('96 Communication), and Linda Lohrengel, wife of SUU professor of geology, Fred Lohrengel.
And, finally, Utah Shakespearean Festival Founder and Executive Producer Fred C. Adams was invited to carry the Torch in the Cedar City area. And, on the evening of the Cedar City celebration, President Bennion carried the Olympic Torch during a leg of the relay in Nephi, Utah.
"To participate in athletic events with others who have diligently trained and given their all is a great experience," Bennion exclaims. "I am personally humbled and honored by the opportunity to carry the Torch, knowing what it represents."