- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2002

From combined dispatches
By the time airplanes began flying into the Salt Lake City airport again, President Bush had been safely ushered away and the Olympic flame burned above a nearly empty stadium.
An unprecedented security plan worked to near perfection in its first major test. For those protecting the Olympics, there were no opening night jitters.
As the crowds went home from Friday night's Opening Ceremony, there was a quick sigh of relief and one sobering realization: There are still a lot of Olympics left to protect.
"That was a big day, but we've still got a lot to go," said David Tubbs , executive director of the Olympic security force.
Security officials had been quietly confident that three years of preparation and an investment of $310million would be enough to guard an Olympics that suddenly seemed more vulnerable after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Still, they were eager to see the complex plan meet and pass its first test. It didn't get any bigger than guarding Bush, three other heads of state and an audience of more than 50,000 on a chilly night in the Utah foothills.
"We're all breathing freely now," Salt Lake Olympic chief Mitt Romney said. "Our security worked extremely well."
The security was layered and intense outside Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium on the University of Utah campus, where teams of police peered into the windows of cars in the driveways of nearby residences and black-clad Secret Service snipers watched from the rooftop.
A few helicopters patrolled nearby skies, which were otherwise absent of planes beneath 28,000 feet because the airport was closed and airspace restricted.
Once the crowds got through metal detectors and were patted down, though, they might have been surprised by the lack of visible security inside the stadium.
That was a secondary goal of organizers, who used plainclothes officers to mingle with the crowds inside to keep the Games from having a militaristic look.
"Inside, where events are taking place, the security will be much more unobtrusive," Secret Service agent Marc Connolly said.
If people in the stadium needed a reminder of why security was so intense, all they had to do was look at the tattered flag pulled out of the rubble of the World Trade Center that was solemnly held during the national anthem.
Following the terrorist attacks, officials added another $40million to secure the Olympics. They also heightened the awareness that the Games could be a prime target.
Security was so tight even Salt Lake International Airport was closed for four hours during the Opening Ceremony, disrupting some 332 flights. The only trouble came when five protesters were arrested after confronting police near where Bush was expected to arrive.
What might have been most surprising was how quickly spectators heavily bundled up against the cold got through metal detectors and into the stadium. Lines moved quickly, with some fans saying they got through security in 10 minutes or less.

Ex-Olympian dies skiing
Butch Neumann , a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic cycling team, died last week while skiing in Utah. He was 69.
Neumann, who died Jan. 28 of an apparent heart attack, was a member of the U.S. team in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Man of steel
Michelle Kwan has often drawn inspiration from fellow Olympian Lance Armstrong 's autobiography, "It's Not About the Bike."
After a chance meeting at the Opening Ceremony, the U.S. figure skater was drawing inspiration from Armstrong himself.
"I didn't know he was going to be there," Kwan said yesterday about their encounter in Rice-Eccles Stadium. "I saw a bunch of people marching in, including Cal Ripken , and then I saw Lance."
Armstrong came back from a life-threatening bout with cancer to win a bronze medal in Sydney and the Tour de France the last two years.
"It struck me he's not a big guy," Kwan said. "But then I said, 'Hey, that's Superman.'"

Screaming at scalpers
City officials say they tried to be nice to ticket scalpers. But yesterday afternoon, John Sittner , Salt Lake City's chief of Olympic planning, stood on a planter downtown and screamed at unlicensed ticket brokers.
"Do not sell tickets without a license," Sittner yelled to about 100 brokers on the busy sidewalk.
"Do not buy tickets from people without a license," he said to everyone else.
The city rented office space in a building specifically for people to buy, sell, and exchange tickets and pins. But to get a stall, brokers had to register, submit to a background check and pay $750.
Outside the exchange, unlicensed brokers have been buying and selling. The city will prosecute unlicensed brokers by issuing citations, Sittner said. It's a misdemeanor to do business without a license, and a violation can bring a fine of up to $299 and six months in jail.

Flame scare
The 55,000 fans who packed the stadium and billions watching worldwide on television probably noticed a brief flicker by the flame just before the cauldron lit. No, it wasn't supposed to do that, officials admitted yesterday.
"There was a gust of wind," said Scott Givens , the SLOC's creative group managing director. "It looked like it might have gotten us, but the cauldron lit just in time. We were definitely holding our breath."

Boitano has appendix out
Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic figure skating champion, had his appendix removed Friday night but still plans to attend the Salt Lake City Games.
Boitano was resting in a San Francisco hospital yesterday, according to his coach, Linda Leaver. He underwent the appendectomy and was expected to be released from the hospital today.
Boitano is scheduled to do work for NBC and is part of a committee that will select the 2002 Olympic Spirit Award winner.

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