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Athletes, media get own ZIPs

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So many journalists are coming to Salt Lake City for the Olympics that they're getting their own ZIP code.

The 9,000 accredited journalists — enough to constitute a small town or at least a large neighborhood — will be known as Salt Lake City 84195 when they gather each day at the Salt Palace to write and broadcast the 2002 Winter Games. Another temporary ZIP code, 84194, has been assigned to the 3,000 athletes and officials who will live at Olympic Village on the University of Utah campus.

According to Beverly Burge, special events manager for the Salt Lake post office, post office officials only occasionally dole out temporary ZIP codes. They created six ZIP codes for the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.

"We're not anticipating huge amounts of mail" to be delivered to 84194 and 84195," Burge said. (The journalists and athletes will have access to e-mail, after all).

Still, Valentine's Day falls during the 2002 Olympics, and that will probably mean lots of Valentine's cards, Burge notes. (Even journalists get Valentine's cards).

The new ZIP codes will help the post office deliver the mail efficiently during the Olympics, she adds. "We don't want the media mail mixed up with the Salt Palace mail."

Along with the new ZIP codes, both the Main Media Center and Olympic Village will get temporary addresses: 2002 Media Way and 2002 Olympic Village, although neither is actually located on Salt Lake City's grid system at 2002 east, south, north or south.

"It's more like a post office box," said Burge, who adds that if there is an emergency, help will be dispatched to the true street addresses.

The Salt Lake post office has also set aside two more ZIP codes in case these are needed during the Olympics. ZIP codes 84194 and 84195 bring the total number of Utah ZIP codes to 352. The U.S. Postal Service hasn't dispensed any other new Utah ZIP codes since 1996 when West Valley City outgrew 84060.

E-MAIL: jarvik@desnews.com