Crews Remove ‘Torchbearer’

U students and faculty bid a final farewell to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games as workers take down remnants of the Olympic banner that covered the Social and Behavioral Science Tower for more than four months.

The banner, known as “The Torchbearer,” will be disassembled in six separate panel sections over the next few days.

The banner was hoisted on Dec. 4, to commemorate the Olympic Torch Relay that began in Atlanta the same day. According to Pete VandarHave, director of plant operations, Olympic organizers selected the building for its proximity to Rice-Eccles Stadium, hoping to provide an elaborate backdrop to Olympic ceremonies and other venues.

Aubrey Arnel, the Olympic project coordinator of U plant operations, cited two reasons for the banner’s extended display. First, SLOC workers have been busy taking down the other 12 building-size banners across the city, she said.

“And to tell the truth, a lot of people really liked it,” she said. “We’re all a little sad to see it go.”

Kathy Hunter, a member of Salt Lake’s LOOK of the Games Team, helped organize the banner project, known as CityScape.

Each of the banners were locally manufactured at the Layton-based company ProGrafix, and featured actual “up-and-coming” athletes from local areas, according to Hunter.

“The University of Utah has been so incredibly supportive of [Olympic efforts] right from the beginning,” Hunter said. “We’ve really appreciated that.”