Dark blue snowboard pants with snap front worn by Shannon Dunn during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.
Shannon Dunn (Downing) began snowboarding in 1988 at age 16, in her hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado when the sport was just gaining traction on an international level. In 1985, snowboarding became more relevant as a competitive sport with the arrival of sport specific magazines and videos, the introduction of international snowboard competitions and the acceptance of snowboarding in more resorts throughout the United States. By the late 1980s, women were beginning to enter contests hoping to spark a desire in younger girls to participate. Dunn began competing a year after she started snowboarding and took first in the 1989 Halfpipe Rocky Mountain Amateur Series and second place overall. By 1990 she was competing in the pro circuit and won third in the 1990 Body Glove Snowbout. From 1991 through 1997, Dunn was a consistent first place finisher at the pro contests and won gold in halfpipe at the first ever Winter X Games in 1997. She went on to earn a spot on the inaugural Olympic snowboarding team and became the first American athlete to medal in snowboarding winning the Bronze medal in half pipe at Nagano. Dunn continued her domination of the medal stand on the pro circuit until the 2002 Salt Lake City games where she came in fifth as American Kelly Clark to gold. After the 2002 Games Dunn retired in order to concentrate on her family. Dunn co-founded “Boarding for Breast Cancer” in 1996 and continues her philanthropic work.
The 2002 Winter Olympics, also known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad were held in Salt Lake City, Utah with 78 countries, 1,513 men and 886 women athletes participating. Security was high as these were the first Games since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A flag from Ground Zero was flown at the opening ceremonies. These games were the most successful Winter Games to date with the 2002 Paralympic Games held in the Salt Lake City venue right after. The American women won the gold in women’s bobsled while American Sara Hughes won gold in figure skating with Michelle Kwan taking the bronze. The United States won the medal count with 34 but Norway won the gold medal count with 13.