An iconic piece of Salt Lake City history appears to be on the cusp of a triumphant return

This prominent Olympic artwork has been MIA for nearly a decade.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Photographers shoot photos of Gail Seay and The Hoberman Arch on the Medals Plaza stage, Friday, Jan. 25, 2002, just before the Winter Games began.

It appears one of the most prominent relics from Utah’s 2002 Winter Olympics will again see the light of day — and soon.

In a Tuesday news release, Salt Lake City airport officials teased next week’s unveiling of a 31,000-pound, 4,000-piece art feature that resembles a human iris, but they stopped short of naming the work.

Only one structure, however, seems to meet that description: the Hoberman Arch.

“We look forward,” airport spokesperson Nancy Volmer said in a text message, “to providing more details at the reveal on Aug. 29.”

The airport-bound arch, perhaps the most iconic installation of the 2002 Games, served as the centerpiece of the Medals Plaza. The semicircular structure is 36 feet tall, 72 feet wide, and opens and closes like the iris of an eye.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Hoberman Arch at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday, June 13, 2013.

After the Games — and amid disagreement among then-city leaders — the arch found a home at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus.

In 2014, the U. asked the city to take the arch back. The following January, pieces of the aluminum web were stolen from a city impound lot at 2350 W. 500 South. After the theft, the city moved the artwork to an undisclosed indoor location.

Since its disassembly, a steady drumbeat of Utahns has called to return the arch to its former glory.

In April, Salt Lake City posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that it was “in the process of restoring” the arch and that the structure should be available for public viewing this year.

Details on the arch’s public location, the city posted, were still being finalized.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The disassembled Hoberman Arch, a symbol of the 2002 Winter Games, sits among the weeds in Salt Lake City's impound lot on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

Airport officials are scheduled to unveil the artpiece next Tuesday with a slate of speakers that includes Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Airport Advisory Board Chair Theresa Foxley, Special Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and artist Gordon Huether, who created “The Canyon” art installation that lines the walls of the airport atrium leading to concourse A.

“Salt Lake City’s Olympic heritage is a source of pride,” Mendenhall spokesperson Andrew Wittenberg said in a statement, “and we’re excited to reveal more next week.”

The arch will apparently be installed near a stretch of road leading toward Interstate 80 from the passenger pickup and drop-off curbs.

The Hoberman Arch’s return to public life comes as Salt Lake City’s pursuit of staging another Winter Olympics heats up.

If Utah’s capital lands the 2030 or 2034 Games — as officials hope — the structure that celebrated the Olympians of yesteryear would again welcome the world’s greatest athletes as they arrive in the Beehive State.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Three American flags are raised at the medals ceremony in front of the Hoberman Arch during the 2002 Winter Games.