No more simple gold, silver and bronze circles. Artists designed the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic medals to resemble rocks tumbled in a Western river. At Utah’s O.C. Tanner, jewelers handcrafted each medal following a 21-step process that took more than 18 hours. Now in the homes of athletes worldwide, these medals weigh more than a pound each.
For the first time in Olympic history, medals depicted individual sports. On one side of each medal is an athlete emerging from ice, accompanied by the Olympic Rings (invoking “fire and ice”); the reverse side features the Greek goddess Nike holding a small victory leaf over a depiction of the event for which the medal was presented (such as bobsleigh or curling), the Salt Lake 2002 crystal emblem and name of the event. The medalists received walnut display boxes presented inside a deerskin bag with their medals.
Modeled after an icicle plucked from the eaves of a snowbound cabin, the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic torch carried the theme of Light the Fire Within to thousands of torchbearers. A polished silver tip, engraved with the words “Light the Fire Within,” represented modernity and the speed of the athletes. That section led up to a textured pewter shaft, which symbolized the ruggedness of the American West, and was emblazoned with the Salt Lake 2002 crystal emblem. Alight, the flame burned dramatically within a glass crown. Salt Lake City’s Axiom Design designed and created the Olympic torch. More than 12,012 torchbearers — nominated for inspiring family members, friends, and members of their communities — then carried the theme of Light the Fire Within across 13,500 miles and through 46 states on the 65-day Olympic Torch Relay.
The Olympic Cauldron design reflected the theme of Light the Fire Within and the concept of Fire and Ice. Constructed of steel, stainless steel and glass, the Cauldron featured a clear bowl to showcase the Olympic Flame — it was the first time in history the bowl was made from translucent materials. As the Olympic Flame burned, small jets sent water down the inside of the bowl which created a shimmering effect similar to that of an icicle melting.
The Olympic Cauldron stood 117 feet tall in Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium, and included 738 individual pieces of glass. WET Design of Los Angeles designed the cauldron; Arrow Dynamics of Clearfield, Utah, built the frame; Western Glass of Ogden, Utah, created the glass pieces. After the Salt Lake 2002 Games, engineers moved the Olympic Cauldron to its permanent location at the permanent Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Cauldron Park in the city.
A replica of the Olympic Cauldron — the Heroes’ Cauldron — stood beneath the 72-foot Hoberman Arch in Olympic Medals Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City. Each night of the Games, the Heroes’ Cauldron provided a grand backdrop for Medals Ceremonies.