SLC vs. ATL Olympic Comparison

I have just returned from a week in Salt Lake City and have been ruminating on my two Olympic experiences. Following is a comparison of my times at the Summer Games in Atlanta 1996 and the Winter Games in Salt Lake City 2002.

Atlanta Logo
vs. Salt Lake City
Salt Lake Logo
  Edge: SLC – It’s close, but I like the simplicity of Salt Lake’s logo

Opening Ceremonies
Cowboys Indians
  Edge: SLC – Everyone I watched the ceremonies with agreed that the Salt Lake ceremonies were better. Atlanta has the disadvantage of being a younger city with a past that can’t really be celebrated (imagine the ceremonies opening with the fields of cotton gently blowing in the breeze, then the white master steps in and starts ordering his slaves around… not really in the Olympic image…)

Who lit the flame at the opening ceremonies
Muhammad Ali 1980 US Olympic Ice Hockey Team
Edge: ATL – I think that SLC’s choice was rather lame, who knows… maybe I would feel different if I was old enough to care in 1980 about the "miracle on ice."  

When were medals awarded
At the event There was a lame flower ceremony at the event, actual medals weren’t awarded till later that evening
Edge: ATL  

World View
Games, crowd, merchandise were all very pro-American, almost to the point of jingoism. Seemed to be very little awareness that these are supposed to be international games Much better than Atlanta, I thought it was cool that people cheered for all athletes not just the Americans
  Edge: SLC

Atlanta Mascot
Whatizit or Izzy – what the hell is this thing, a blue sperm?
Salt Lake Mascots
Powder, Copper and Coal. Not particularly inspired but at least were kept low key
  Edge: SLC

Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport Salt Lake City International Airport
  Edge: SLC – There’s no real reason for this other than the fact that I really hate Hartsfield

Really don’t remember Annoyingly cheerful/chirpy, maybe I am just becoming a bitter cynical city guy. They all sported really sharp jackets though.
Edge: ATL  

Ticket Exchange
Don’t remember, as there were more events there was probably less of a need for it Evil psycho hyper-marketplace where scalping is clearly legal
Edge: ATL  

Olympic Center
Centennial Olympic Park Salt Lake Olympic Square – security lines were hell, recordings that welcomed us to the Olympic Square were on a very short loop and quickly grew tiresome
Edge: ATL  

Mall built for the city center
Underground Atlanta – LAME, wasn’t really underground and filled with all the wax candles you can shake a stick at The Gateway – an outdoor mall filled with expensive snooty brands. An outdoor mall makes sense in California, NOT in Utah
  Edge: SLC

Hot and humid Cold
  Edge: SLC

Religious influences
None that I can remember Mormon protesters - 'Mormon Jesus is Devil's Brother' and 'Mormon say Blacks are Cursed'Way too much, at least three separate religious organizations handing out bibles, Mormon supporters, Mormon protesters, chalk marking espousing celibacy as the only good birth control, trucks driving around with extremely gory anti-abortion ads (this was the one thing that really crossed the line)
Edge: ATL  

Annoying corporate influences
Coke ruled the wastelands Samsung, AT&T, Coke also had a surprisingly large presence
  Edge: SLC

None really Long lines, metal detectors, national guard, had to empty your pockets, guards took a picture with your camera each time you went through security, F-16s patrolling the sky, all commercial airline flights cancelled during opening and closing ceremonies
Edge: ATL  

Bomb in Olympic Centennial Park None, so far
  Edge: SLC – by a long shot!

Richard JewellFalsely accusing Richard Jewell of planting the bomb Skate Gate
  Edge: SLC

Public Transportation
MARTA – Capacity was very poorly estimated and planned. Trains would often not stop at stations as they would be packed. Further, you would often have to wait for 2-3 trains before the mob in front of you dissapated enough to allow you to get on a train. The kinks had clearly not yet been worked out of the basic syetem operation either – once, a train packed with people broke down, stranding us for a half an hour Links – not needed, not used
  Edge: SLC

Shipped in from out of town
Bus drivers – they didn’t know the city and got lost, it was a mess Buses – with the exception of Park City, were always plentiful and frequent. Gave a nice national flavor to see buses from around the country (though, for the life of me, I have no idea why they came from as far away as Baltimore!)
  Edge: SLC

Environmental quality of the transportation
MARTA’s buses were all clean burning natural gas Old diesel Muni buses and no mass transit
Edge: ATL  

Hell Unbelievable good, highway rush hour + venue traffic was still better than US 101 on the peninsula on a good day
  Edge: SLC

Use of a car
Not possible Incredibly easy
  Edge: SLC

Tallying up the scores, Salt Lake City beats out Atlanta by a score of 8 to 14. Salt Lake put on a great Olympics – the planning was excellent, capacity was well estimated and in general, all things ran smoothly. This was in stark contrast to the Atlanta Games where the city moved from one cluster to another.

Both were still fun though…