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SALT LAKE CITY — Ellie Hill and her family, British citizens vacationing in Salt Lake City, might have thought they were leaving the Olympics back home. They live in Northhamptonshire, about an hour north of London.
But they ended up in Olympic country.
Per household, more people are watching the Olympics here than any other television market in the US.
"I think it's the spirit of it and the fact that it's all the nations working together," she said. She especially enjoyed Andy Murray's victory over Roger Federer early one morning this week.
"Yeah, got up fairly early in the morning," she said. "Watched it with my peanut butter and toast. Then a stream of texts came in from all family and friends at home making sure I'd watched it."
"It doesn't surprise me that viewership is so high," said Jeff Robbins, president of the Utah Sports Commission. "It's a very active sports community."
I think there's still a real sense of community and I think people still feel an ownership into that space because they had such a great experience.
–Utah Sports Commission President Jeff Robbins
And, he says, since hosting the 2002 Winter Games, Utahns continue to feel a strong connection to the Olympics.
"I think there's still a real sense of community and I think people still feel an ownership into that space because they had such a great experience."
Don Johnson of St. George has been watching gymnastics, swimming and diving.
"I like to see them exceed at something they've been working at all their life," he said, "and to hear their stories, the sacrifices they've made and what the families have sacrificed for them to be able to be there."
Hill says the popularity of these Olympic Games might also have something to do with Utah's Anglophilia.
"It's a warm feeling that we're getting from the local people here," Hill said. "So maybe it's the setting and maybe it's because you had the Olympics here. It's bringing back happy memories."
Contributing: Alex Cabrero