Sunday, February 19, 2012

Celebrationg 10 Years of Olympic History!

It's been fun to wander down memory lane the last 10 days, celebrating the 10th anniversary since Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympic Games.   When I took my first oath of office in 1998, I found myself on a plane less than two months later heading toward Nagano to see for my first time, an Olympic Games in person.  It was a great opportunity for both Cathy and me.  It helped that I spoke Japanese, but it also left me pretty humbled to think about how we were going to be ready in four years.  Those next four years, had it's challenges, Olympic bid scandals, disputes with government entities about costs of the games and then the element that no one could have foreseen, the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Through all those efforts, endless meetings and frankly just taking a risk on some stuff, an amazing thing happened and this community will be forever better for having hosted and participated in the Olympic Games of 2002.  It seems like yesterday, until I look at pictures with me having different glasses, Sarah was only two and still being held by us at times, and Jessica was 10 and attending Backman Elementary School.  I've had a little fun, decorating my office, my home, and attending a couple of memory events, both with the lighting of the cauldron at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the 8th and then last night at ESA, with Mitt Romney and other Olympic participants.  There were undoubtedly key players in the efforts, including Mitt Romney, but these were games where everyone had a role, and everyone should be proud of what they did.  I sure am and would love again to see it one day come back to Salt Lake City. 

Tonight, we watched the Bud Greenspan movie highlighting some of the incredible accomplishments both in sport, but even more in life of those athletes and my eyes teared up thinking about the role our community played in their lives.  It's been fun to have some stay here, like Derek Parra, who continues to coach and be part of our community.  Some of the skilled artisans remained and started businesses and even another, who was responsible for the construction of venues, has played in a key role in managing the construction of City Creek here in Salt Lake City.

I remember one council meeting, where we were debating the permitting of placement of the Olympic rings on the hillside of Salt Lake City and Mitt Romney was in a fairly tense discussion with a colleague of mine.  In the course of that discussion, he explained his definition of a hero.  That hit home even more to me a few years later, when I purchased his book at Deseret Book about his Olympic experience and decided to get in line to have him sign it.  He hadn't seen me coming, but I think was surprised that I would wait in line for him to sign it.  He paused for a few seconds and then wrote, "Carlton, To an extraordinary friend and contributor to the Games of 2002!  Mitt Romney" and then he wrote  below it, "To my hero!  August 2, 2004".  For me personally to fit that definition of a hero meant a great deal to me and I will always be grateful of his recognition.  I was pleased in my bid for the Utah State Senate four years ago to have his endorsement, which did not go to many and am very excited about the prospects of his Presidential Bid in 2012.  Maybe, I finally have "Hope"?

I'm sure the "torch" for the next games will go to new community leaders, but I look forward with great anticipation at that prospect!
Coming of the Torch to Salt Lake City!

Self produced YouTube Video of some of my Olympic Experiences!

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