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Posted 12 Mar 2001   For week ended February 16, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Feb01

By Deborah Carl

Romney Recognized for Recovery of Salt Lake Winter Olympics

Romney Recognized for Recovery of Salt Lake Winter Olympics

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - With the 2002 Winter Games just one year away, Mitt Romney is working hard to get Salt Lake City ready. Romney, who challenged Edward M. Kennedy for the U.S. Senate seat in 1994, was hired to steer the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and repair the damage caused by the Olympic bid scandal.

Putting together an Olympics is full of challenges. "Someone said it must be like hosting a Super Bowl. It's actually more like hosting 100 Super Bowls at the same time. Instead of two teams, we have 80 teams. Instead of one broadcaster, we have 70 broadcasters. In almost every respect the Olympics operation challenges are overwhelming," Romney reported.

When Romney started, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee was $379 million behind and all the usual sponsors had been signed. "I felt like I stepped into an empty elevator shaft," Romney said. Now he has $800 million in sponsorships from U.S. companies and has sold 160 million tickets.

Romney was disappointed that Salt Lake City participated in a flawed bid system. "That a few people let down their ethical guard is most disappointing," Romney said. "In a setting where people have lost confidence it is absolutely essential to adopt a policy of openness ... Things are never as bad as people fear. If the truth is open to everyone, confidence can again be rebuilt." Romney has three rules. No. 1: No one is above the rules. No. 2: It is not an excuse to say everyone else did it. No. 3: It is inexcusable to hide the truth.

Romney feels professional sport tickets are too expensive for the average citizen. The Salt Lake ticketing policy is designed to provided tickets at prices for ordinary citizens.

Romney believes that more countries are developing economically and will want to host the Olympics. "We have come to expect the Games in America at least once a decade. There are now many, many countries that want the Games and their representatives sit on the International Olympic Committee. I would not be surprised if it took 10 or 20 years for the Games to come to America again."

Romney, who has deep Utah roots and Mormon ancestry, says he is not sure if he will return to Massachusetts after the Winter Games or what he will work on next; however, he is listed as a potential candidate for Massachusetts governor.


The man who revived Salt Lake
St Paul MN Pioneer (Knight Ridder) 11Feb01 S2
By Elliott Almond: Knight Ridder Newspapers


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