Eight U.S. athletes and New York police and firefighters were to carry the tattered American flag from the World Trade Center into the stadium during the opening ceremony.
President Bush, there to officially open the games, said "the Olympics give the world a chance in the middle of a difficult struggle to celebrate international peace and cooperation."
The Dixie Chicks, LeAnn Rimes, Rita Coolidge, Sting and cellist Yo-Yo Ma were among those to perform before a crowd of 55,000 people - and an estimated 3 billion television viewers - at the opening ceremony.
Temperatures were as low as 16 degrees, and winds were up to 15 mph during the opening ceremony.
Security personnel outnumber athletes almost 8-1. There are 2,531 athletes from 77 countries scheduled to compete, and some 16,000 security personnel. Cost for security is $310 million.
Copper the Coyote, Powder the Snowshoe Hare, and Coal the American Black Bear are the Olympic mascots. The animals were selected because of an American Indian legend that ties in with the Olympic motto of swifter, higher, stronger.
Prawat Nagvajara, an engineering professor at Drexel University and a cross-county skier, is the first athlete to represent Thailand in the Winter Games.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I've never felt safer in my life." - Amy Peterson, five-time American Olympic speedskater, on the security
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