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Wondering how S.L. compares with Nagano's Olympic venue?

OK, so you're all settled in on the couch watching the 1998 Nagano Olympics and trying to make sense of where the relative sites and venues are going to be for the 2002 Games in Utah. Here's a brief rundown of the Salt Lake area sites and their Japanese counterparts:

Men's hockey

E Center vs. Big Hat

Located less than nine miles from downtown Salt Lake City, the E Center in West Valley City seats 10,000 - about the same as Nagano's Big Hat. And if the men's hockey experiment is deemed a success in Nagano and the national teams are once again loaded with NHL talent in 2002, the E Center may seem a little small for crowd demands.

Figure skating, speed skating

Delta Center vs. White Ring

Since it is being referred to officially as "the Olympic Skating Arena at Salt Lake City" by SLOC, the Delta Center may see some changes or modifications to its name during the 2002 Games. Olympic policy restricts commercialism at the venues. Located within walking distance of downtown Salt Lake City, the Delta Center is projected to seat 13,000 for figure skating and short-track speed skating. And there is some talk of considering the Delta Center as a site for medal-round hockey games in order to accommodate several thousand additional fans.

Women's Hockey

Provo ice sheet vs. Aqua Wing

All sides signed off on the Provo facility just prior to the Nagano Games. While Utah County in general and Provo in particular was at one time hoping to obtain even just a practice venue, they end up a full-fledged competition site - likely the women's ice hockey. Situated the farthest away from downtown Salt Lake City at 52-plus miles, the facility is expected to seat 8,500 spectators.

Curling

Ogden ice sheet vs. Kazakoshi Park Arena, Karuizawa

In four years, curling finds itself a little closer to the heart of Olympic activities, with the 2,000-seat Ogden venue about 32 miles from downtown Salt Lake City. However, the media and spectators won't need to take the train like they do from Nagano to Karuizawa.

Luge, bobsled

Winter Sports Park vs. The Spiral, Iizuna Kogen

Already the training site for the U.S. bobsled and luge teams, the Bear Hollow track is drawing raves from American athletes. Some 14,000 spectators should be accommodated at the track, 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake City. One concern will be transportation and overall access during the high-traffic Olympics to the venue, which now is reached from Park City by relatively narrow and winding mountain roads.

Ski jumping

Winter Sports Park vs. Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium

Utah's venue for the ski jumping events and jumping segments of the nordic combined events is at the same Bear Hollow site - and with some of the same traffic and access issues. Crowd capacity is projected at 20,000 spectators - half standing and half sitting. Watch for some retooling of the normal hill and large hill jumps.

Cross country skiing, biathlon

Soldier Hollow vs. Nozawa Onsen and Hakuba's Snow Harp

It's one site fits all in Utah for the biathlon, cross country skiing and skiing portion of the nordic combined, with Mount Timpanogos serving as a beautiful backdrop and the Heber/Midway community serving as venue host. In Nagano, the biathlon is contested at Nozawa Onsen, while the cross country and nordic combined skiing is done at Snow Harp. Capacity is planned at 20,000 for the site, 45 miles from downtown Salt Lake City.

Giant slalom, snowboarding

Park City Mountain Resort vs. Shiga Kogen (3 venues)

Besides alpine skiing's giant slalom races, Park City hosts the snowboarding competition, which will be reviewed and determined after the 1998 Games. Located 33 miles from downtown Salt Lake, Park City already is the site of the"America's Opening" race on the World Cup circuit. Expect a capacity of 20,000 spectators at site of the various venues, which in Nagano are split among three Shiga Kogen resorts - the GS at Mount Higashidate, the snowboarding giant slalom at Mount Yaketibai and the halfpipe at the Kanbayashi Snowboard Park.

Speed skating

Qquirrh Park Oval vs. M-Wave

There's a westside stigma to be overcome in Salt Lake City, since Nagano's most beautiful and impressive speed-skating venue will be followed by the uncompleted site in Kearns. Located about 15 miles from downtown Salt Lake, the outdoor oval is finished. However, Olympic build-out plans include a covered oval and seating for 6,500 spectators.

Alpine slalom,

combined slalom,

freestyle moguls, freestyle aerials

Deer Valley Resort vs. Shiga Kogen; Iizuna Kogen

Whereas the skiing and snowboarding giant slalom races were both held at Mount Yaketibai in Shiga Kogen, the Utah venue for the alpine slalom and combined slalom races is in Deer Valley. With a spectator capacity of 20,000 and a 30-plus mile distance from downtown Salt Lake City, Deer Valley also hosts the combined slalom races and both freestyle events - the moguls and the aerials - in a venue pairing similar to its Nagano counterpart, the Iizuna Kogen Ski Area.

Downhill, super-G

Snowbasin Ski Area vs. Happo'one, Hakuba

If you've got the need for alpine-skiing speed, you've got a 47-mile drive north from downtown Salt Lake to Snowbasin, the Ogden Valley site of the downhill, combined downhill and super-G races. Spectator capacity at that venue is expected to be some 40,000. And Snow-basin doesn't have the international history or reputation for foggy, windy and other bad-weather conditions like the Happo'one course does.

Additional Olympic sites

- Opening/closing ceremonies: The University of Utah football stadium is being renovated and expanded, with 46,000 permanent seats and another 4,000 temporary seats for a combined capacity of 50,000. The Rice Stadium name would seem quite appropriate for Nagano's stadium, which officially is called "The Stadium For Opening And Closing Ceremonies." Its use afterward is planned for baseball, even though Nagano does not have a professional team.

- Olympic Village:

Still to be constructed on the University of Utah campus, the village will provide housing for an anticipated 3,500 athletes and officials.

- Main Press Center/International Broadcast Center:

In Nagano, the MPC and IBC are located respectively next door and across the street to the Big Hat hockey venue. In Utah, the Salt Palace Convention Center will serve as site for both facilities, with some 10,000 media types expected to attend the 2002 Games.