Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Mitt Romney and the 2002 Olympics

Caleb Whitmer has a nice article on Mitt Romney's leadership at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. I had not heard of this anecdote about Bonnie Blair before but it is very telling of the quality of Mitt's character:

Gillespie said the 2002 games were not only revealing of Romney’s character as a leader but as a good man. She told me a revealing story: Flying a plane to the United States in 2002, Romney and an IOC official argued over who would carry the Olympic flame onto American soil: Romney or six-time gold medalist Bonnie Blair.
Traditionally, the CEO of the current Olympic Planning Committee was supposed to have the honors, but Romney wanted Blair to do it. The relay was supposed to be about heroes, and Romney wanted Blair and her mother to be the first off the plane carrying the torch, with Romney walking behind them. But the IOC member wouldn’t budge and after arguing for a while, Gillespie, who was on the plane as well, recalls that Romney abruptly ended the conversation, saying, “Okay, fine,” and walked away.
The plane landed at the airport and the group positioned itself near the plane doors, as photographers and the press waited for them on the tarmac.
“There’s Mitt holding the little lantern with Bonnie and her mom behind him and the doors open, and, as those doors open, he steps back to the side and hands Bonnie the lantern, pushes them out in front of him, and they went down the stairs.”