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IDAHO BUSINESSES SEE PROMISE OF OLYMPIC GOLD

Anyone who owns a bus may want to hang on to it for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Olympic organizers stopped in Burley Friday to address members of the business and recreation industry at a three-day seminar promoting state tourism and economic development."If anyone owns a bus in 2002, we will rent it," said David R. Johnson, senior vice president of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee.

The organizing committee hopes a few million people will be in Salt Lake City for the Olympics. It plans to sell nearly 2 million tickets for Olympic events. Thousands of more people will be in town just to run the Winter Games, which will be held Feb. 8-24 - and don't forget the 4,000 athletes and officials.

Johnson predicted the Olympics will open numerous international markets for intermountain businesses, including those in southern Idaho. This area will be a gateway for many northerners traveling to Salt Lake City, he said.

It also will be a destination for tourists who want to see more of the West, skiers wanting to escape Olympic crowds, and teams looking for places to train. In addition to all of the foreigners in town, 120 nations will receive broadcast coverage of the Games, as well as footage of the sites and cultures of the West, he said.

The 2002 Winter Games will be the first major, international event to be held in the intermountain West, Johnson said. Many Olympic visitors will begin arriving as early as 1999, becoming familiar with the territory, looking for training grounds and setting up accommodations.

Olympic athletes won't be allowed to use Olympic sports areas for training and will be seeking areas with similar altitudes to prepare for the Games.

Olympic planners won't get into intensive planning until after the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, Johnson said, because they don't want to overplan and overspend.