For many Utah latter-day saints, Olympic season brings with it a sense of deep nostalgia. It was six years ago that the world focused in on the Wasatch front, and that the Church began on what would become a path of increasing media attention. However, long before 2002, Mormons had already enjoyed some time in the Olympic spotlight. In 1984, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed at the “Tribute to the Stars” gala preceding the summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. At those games, LDS church member Peter Vidmar earned two golds and a silver.
What’s even more interesting, is the he was invited to speak in the following general conference, and was introduced and highlighted by President Hinckley. There have been many accomplished LDS athletes since 1984, but we certainly don’t see them rubbing shoulders with GA’s in general conference in this day and age! In fact, there’s a fresh crop of 18 LDS Olympians in China right now. (see here) Will we see any of them at any formal church functions?
For your viewing pleasure, I’ve unearthed some video footage of these events. (Click here) My, how times have changed—in my lifetime, too…and I’m the youngest one here!