To promote the Games among the largest number of people possible in the United States, the relay passed through over 300 towns and villages in 46 states. The route included the previous Games host cities, Atlanta, Lake Placid, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Squaw Valley.
On 4 December 2001, after leaving Athens the previous day, the flame landed in Atlanta. At the Centennial Olympic Park, Muhammad Ali, who lit the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, lit the first torch on American soil. The former boxer then handed it to Peggy Fleming, the figure skating Olympic gold medallist at Grenoble in 1968. She ran the first leg of the relay with her coach Robert Paul, who had won the figure skating gold medal at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley.
On 8 February 2002, at the Opening Ceremony, for the first time in Olympic history, an entire team, the winning US men’s ice hockey team from the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, lit the Olympic cauldron.
Start date: 19 November 2001, Olympia (Greece)
End date: 8 February 2002, Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium, Salt Lake City (United States)
First torchbearer: Lefteris Fafalis, Olympic participant in cross country skiing (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010)
Last torchbearers: The members of the US ice hockey team from the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid.
Number of torchbearers: 41 in Greece, 12,012 in the United Sates
Recruitment of torchbearers: The torchbearers were chosen by the Organising Committee and the relay partners (Coca-Cola and Chevrolet), each choosing one-third of the total number. A publicity campaign by the Organising Committee invited Americans to submit the name of a person who was a source of inspiration in their lives. In all, more than 300,000 candidatures were received.
Distance: 368km + 8 nautical miles in Greece, 21,725km in the United States
Countries visited: Greece, United States
Description: Shaped like a stalactite, the torch symbolised winter sports. The silver ribbed body of the torch evoked the texture of the natural ice and rugged landscape of the American West.
The surface of the torch varied from the aged finish of the central part (representing the past) to the high-polish finish of the lower part (modernity). The point where these two surfaces met, where the runner held the torch, was a bridge between the past and present.
The torch was topped by a glass crown surrounding the flame and reflecting the motto for this edition of the Games, which was engraved on the handle: “Light the Fire within”. The Games emblem appeared on the front of the torch. The elements making up the torch also had a meaning: glass: winter and ice; old silver: the West, running water; shiny silver: the heart and speed of the athletes; and copper: fire, passion, the history of Utah.
Colour: Silver and bronze
Composition: Silvered metal, copper and glass
Designer / Manufacturer: Scott Given, Matt Manes, Axiom Design / Coleman, Georgia Institute of Technology, Quickparts.com, Inc.
For the first time, the cauldron was translucent. To fit in with the visual identity based on fire and ice, it contained jets of water spraying down the inside of the bowl, to create the watered silk look of a melting ice cube. The flame was lifted to the top of the glass and stainless steel structure by means of a manual mechanism. There, the flame burned more than 35 metres above the ground. The cauldron can today be seen in front of the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
The medals plaza in the centre of the city also had its own cauldron. This “Heroes’ Cauldron” was 3.60 metres tall and shaped like the main cauldron.