After 13,500 miles, Olympic torch arrives in Salt Lake City
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Completing a 13,500-mile journey, the Olympic torch arrived in Salt Lake City Thursday, entering the same way the Mormon pioneers did 155 years ago — aboard a covered wagon, rolling down Emigration Canyon with the broad sweep of the Salt Lake Valley below.
Thousands of spectators cheered as a runner jumped out of the wagon and ran toward a small stage, where a brief speech was made by an actor portraying Brigham Young, who led the Mormons here from Illinois in 1847.
About 11,500 people have carried the torch through 46 states since it began its U.S. relay in Atlanta on Dec. 4.
Friday night, the flame will be carried into Rice-Eccles Stadium during the opening ceremony to light the Olympic cauldron, signifying the start of the games, which run through Feb. 24.
The identity of the final torchbearer, who will light the cauldron, remains a secret.
The last day of the marathon torch relay began at dawn in the northern Utah city of Ogden. It passed through midway, where cross-country skiers will compete. Families there lined the streets, waving flags and cheering.
The flame took a slow four-mile run from Soldier Hollow to Heber in a cauldron aboard the Heber Creeper, an old coal-fired train. About 800 people gathered at the train station to greet the flame.
The torch was driven to Park City, home to slalom skiing and snowboarding events. Thousands of people — many in ski gear — crowded Main Street as the torch came to the historic silver mining town.
Kelly Milligan, a member of the 1984 U.S. cross-country ski team, ran the torch Thursday afternoon before passing it to her older sister.
“Honestly, I was really self-conscious. I didn’t fall, break the torch or singe my hair,” she said, laughing.
The torch passed through the Olympic Village, by the state Capitol and on to Temple Square, home to the Mormon Temple.