The 19th Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City was declared open by President George W. Bush last night. There was a large security presence at the opening as the sell-out 52,000 crowd stood silently as the stars and stripes which had been rescued from the wreckage of the World Trade Centre was brought into the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium.

“On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation, I declare open the Games of Salt Lake City, celebrating the Olympic Winter Games,” said President Bush.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge spoke of the horror which was visited upon the US over the past year and of the hope that a lasting peace might be attained: “Your nation is overcoming an horrific tragedy, a tragedy that has affected the whole world. We stand united with you in the promotion of our common ideals and in our hope for world peace.”

Athletes from 77 nations will take part in the Salt Lake City Games.

Filed by Tom Grealis