Lighting a fire within?
Many people questioned the ability for the United States to host an international event of this magnitude, so shortly after devastating terrorist attacks. But Utah met the challenge, exceeding expectations. Nations came together and celebrated the incredible Olympic spirit. Together, just as the 2002 Olympic theme suggested, a fire was lit from within.

America welcomed the world beginning February 8, in a celebration that didn't end until the Olympics were over on February 24.

The Olympics were full of surprises at every turn of the road. From the unforgettable stories about athletes and their determination to win, to their performances that inspired the world, these games inspired and changed us all. Each sport has stories worth retelling...

Ice Hockey
With special honor, the 1980 Olympic US Hockey Dream Team lit the torch at the opening ceremonies. The Canadian men's team deserves special applause. The 2002 Olympic Winter Games saw them champion over the United States in a 5-2 gold medal-winning game. This was the first time in 50 years that the Canadian men took home such glory! The Canadian women's team also won gold.

Not only was this the first women's bobsleigh competition, United States' Jill Bakken and Vonettta Flowers struck gold. Flowers was the first African American to win a medal in the Winter Olympic Games. In the men's competition, Germany dominated both men's events with Christoph Langen and Andre Lange both taking gold in the events respectively. USA's men made an appearance in the medal stand after a 46-year absence.

Figure Skating
A controversy in the pairs competition put the sport on the world stage as two gold medals were awarded to Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, as well as Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. In the midst of the competition, Sarah Hughes, potentially an underdog in the women's competition, skated a perfect program to a gold medal. Russian Alexei Yagudin took the men's gold and the ice dancing gold was awarded to Marina Anissina and Gwendal Pierzerat of France.

Speed Skating
World record after world record was broken in this event at the Utah Olympic Oval. Jochem Uytedehaage of the Netherlands (10,000 and 5.000 meters) and Germany's Claudia Pechstein (3000 and 5000) both won gold twice in different events. Underdog American Derek Parra (1500) took home a gold as did Chris Witty (1000), who was diagnosed with mononucleosis in January. Gerarad van Velde of the Netherlands, as well as Catriona Le May Doan of Canada both won medals respectively in the 500 and 1000 meter events.

Clara Hughes became the fourth Olympic athlete to win medals in both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Hughes won bronze in two track cycling events at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games.

Cross-Country Skiing
A doping controversy, stripped medals and three banned athletes.

Russia's Larissa Lazutina's gold medal in the 30-kilometer was taken from her. Johann Muehlegg of Spain also lost his gold medal previously awarded for the 50-kilometer classic. Both athletes tested positive for darvepoetin, a drug that increases red blood cells. Lazutina's fellow teammate, Olga Danilova was disqualified from the 30-kilometer, but was able to keep her gold in the 5km freestyle pursuit, and silver in the 10 km classical. Laztunia kept her silver medals in the 15km freestyle and 10 km combined. Muehlegg was also allowed to keep his 30km freestyle and 10 km pursuit gold medals. Bente Skari from Norway won the gold in the 10km classical, silver in women's 4x5km relay and bronze in the 30km classical. Thomas Alsgaard, another Norwegian, won gold in the 4x10km relay and silver in the 10 km freestyle pursuit.

Complete domination by Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Germany's Kati Wilhelm won each of them 4 and 3 gold medals respectively. Germany's Andrea Henkel and Russia's Olga Pyelva won gold in the 15 km individual and 10 km pursuit correspondingly.

Ski Jumping
Unexpectedly, Simon Ammann of Switzerland stunned audiences as he won both small and large hill competitions just after coming off an injury. Germany won the team competition by 0.01 of a point, thanks to Martin Schmitt's final jump.

Great Britain's women's team stunned the curling world with their win over the Swiss rink. Pre-game medal favorite Canadian team took the bronze over the United States. In men's, the Norwegian rink swept the gold medal platform over the Canadian team. The Swiss team took the bronze.

Freestyle Skiing
American favorites Shannon Bahrke and Travis Mayer were both austed in their events. Norway's Kari Traa and Finland's Janne Lahtela took home the gold in the mogul events. Australian Alisa Camplin took the gold in the aerials; Veronica Brenner and Deidra Dionne were awarded the silver and bronze. Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic took the gold in the men's aerials.

The men's United States team swept the halfpipe position with Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas all taking home medals. American Kelly Clark won gold in the women's halfpipe. France's Isabelle Blanc and Karine Ruby both received medals in the parallel giant slalom.

With the skeleton back in the Olympic arena, a three generation family was the first ever to win gold in the same event. Jim Shea followed the Olympic dream of his grandfather and father as he took gold in the men's skeleton event. Fellow United States teammates Tristan Gale and Lea Ann Parsley took first and second place respectively. Parsley helped carry in the flag that survived the World Trade Center Attacks in opening ceremony.

Short Track Speed Skating
Australian Steven Bradbury never dreamed he would win gold, until he crossed the finish line alone in the 1000 meter after a four-man wipe out. American hopeful Apollo Anton Ohno took gold in the 1500 meter. China won its first ever Winter Games medals when Yang Yang (A) won medals in the 1000 and 500.

Nordic Combined
Finland's Samppa Lajunen took home three gold medals after winning the individual race, the relay and the 7.5 km sprint. Lajunen is the first athlete since 1988 to take home three gold medals at one Games.

World records were broken here as well, when Germany's Georg Hackl became the first Olympian in a Winter or Summer Games to win five medals in the same individual event. Germany's spirit was carried as Hackl's fellow teammates swept the women's singles when Sylke Otto, Barbara Niedernhuber and Silke Kraushaar took home medals. Germany's Patric-Fritz Leitner and Alexander Resch took gold in the doubles.

Alpine Skiing
Spelling trouble, Janica Kostelic, Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Stephan Eberharter dominated the alpine competition. Croatian Kostelic took gold in the slalom, combined and giant slalom and silver in the super-G. She is the first woman to win medals in the alpine races, and is one of only three individuals to ever win three gold medals at an Olympic Winter Games. Aamodt of Norway dominated in the men's combined and super-G. Underdog vetran Eberharter of Austria, took medals in the giant slalom, super-G and downhill.

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