London Mood Before Olympics
During daytime coverage on the last Saturday of the Olympics, NBC commentators mentioned that when they arrived in London the mood was “gloomy”, with the tabloid papers stating concern that Great Britain could be embarrassed by a lack of medals. That was not reported by the American media.
So that was the atmosphere Mitt Romney found when he made a visit to London just before the Games began. When he said that whether the British people got behind the Games would be revealed once competition began, he was criticized. At the time I thought he didn’t deserve it. It’s one thing to be excited beforehand, another to see how citizens react when their city is invaded by thousands of visitors. And now, hearing about the vibe in London during Romney’s visit, his comments make even more sense. Too bad the media didn’t give us the information to decide for ourselves if Romney was being honest or critical.
Looking Back to 2002 Winter Games
A year before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, my spouse and I answered our church denomination’s call for volunteers to work with the Salvation Army at water stations and warming cauldrons during the Games. We live about a day’s drive away, so this seemed like a great way to be part of a unique event.
Then came 9-11-01. After an attack unlike anything ever seen, I thought the Olympics might be moved, postponed or even cancelled. But in true American spirit, the Games went on. By the time they began, more people were concerned about traffic than an attack. Besides the security checks at Olympic Square and venues, security measures were invisible. Contrast that with the rocket launchers on top of a London apartment building with the best view of their Olympic Stadium. There were no incidents of violence in Salt Lake City. Contrast that with the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010. I attended these Olympics too and saw for myself the damage done by anarchist protesters in downtown Vancouver.
I had never heard anything about Mitt Romney before the 2002 Games. Apparently he was more well-known in Salt Lake City. Among the many fun Olympic trading pins made for the Games (green jello, fry sauce, I-15 construction), there was one with a likeness of Romney and the words “Mitt Happens”. (That pin has probably went up in value since Romney became the GOP nominee.)
In the years since then, I have learned more about Romney’s leadership of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. The fact most pertinent to the presidential campaign is that the planning was extremely over budget when he took over and in the end they had surplus funds. The federal government is extremely over budget and we need a president who has the experience to get us back to a surplus situation.