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Posted 23 May 2001   For week ended May 11, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23May01

By Deborah Carl

Newsweek Says LDS Church is Using Olympics as Marketing Tool

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is using the Olympics as a marketing tool says Newsweek in an article in its May 10th issue. But, it says that Church officials plan on using the Games as a public-relations opportunity and not a proselytizing mission. Michael Otterson, the church's chief spokesman and member of its Olympics coordination committee says the fundamental goals are to be good hosts and correct misperceptions about the church and people of Utah.

Steve Pace, a Salt Lake health-care consultant and lapsed member of the church, criticizes the church's role in the Olympics. "Almost everything that happens in Utah usually has a church spin on it. And the church has never been able to do anything with a small bit of a light touch."

The church beat most of the Olympic sponsors in providing information packets to the media. Also, during the Olympics, the church will have its own media center and will present programs in its new 21,000-seat Conference Center, a building seven times the size of New York's Metropolitan Opera House.

The church has pledged $5 million in cash, the temporary use of 160 acres for Olympic parking lots, 16 more acres to help build roads and a prime block of downtown Salt Lake City to be used for the nightly medals ceremony. "I go for help," Mitt Romney, head of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, says of SLOC's relationship with the church. And sometimes the church says no. For instance, it declined to share its vast pool of translators with SLOC, reserving them instead for tourists set to swarm Temple Square.


'The Mo-lympics'
Newsweek 10May01 S1
By Jay Weiner


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