Romney's Olympic Role Challenged

Some in Utah think Romney overstates 'lifesaver' image

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 13, 2012 4:31 AM CST | Updated Feb 13, 2012 7:44 AM CST

(Newser) – Mitt Romney's role in saving the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah and making them one of the most successful Winter Games ever had been a central part of his political biography for years. But now in Utah, many citizens are rebelling against that characterization, saying Romney overstates the crisis and his role in fixing it, reports the Washington Post. A bribery scandal did tarnish the event, but it in no way threatened the event with cancelation, said Robert Garff, the chairman of the Salt Lake City Olympic committee.

“You could have brought Humpty Dumpty in and the same change would have happened,” said a University of Utah law professor who coordinated the school's involvement in the Games. “It was inevitable." While Romney increased the number of sponsors to the Games, he also secured more federal funding than for any other US Olympics, with federal funding growing from $200 million to $600 million. “What’s offensive to me is he made it about him and not our community and not our state,” said the executive director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns. “People should remember the Games, not the individual.”

Mitt Romney speaking at a 'Rally for Romney' fundraiser back on September 28, 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah.   (Getty Images)
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