by Jim Provenzano (Bay Area Reporter Feb 7, 2002)
Hi! Welcome to Salt Lake City! I'm Carl Spencer Young III. I'll be your escort through the athlete tour today. You may have a lot of questions, so feel free while I give you the tour.
Yes, there's a very interesting history to our culture and our faith. As you know, almost 70 percent of Utah is comprised of Mormons, as is 90% of our legislature.
What's that? No, as you'll learn from our informational video session later today, former 49er Steve Young, who is descended from our church father, explains that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints do not practice polygamy. That was discontinued almost a hundred years ago.
Yes, it makes you wonder how they got along. All those wives. Ahem. You can learn more about our faith at the Center.
No, sorry, you won't find our usual paired couples offering information on the streets or trying to convert people by going door to door. Elder Jeffrey Holland called the approach "restrained, appropriate and cordial" and wanted to keep things, "tasteful." Well, I don't know if that means we're tasteless every other day of the year.
Later today, you'll be meeting your own federal agents and your personal security guard. Yes, well, due to increased security, it turns out that with only 2500 athletes and over 10,000 federal agents, plus local police, there are over three armed forces protectors for every athlete! Amazing isn't it? Our tax dollars hard at work.
Residents are also allowed to have concealed weapons, so that provides an even greater sense of security, doesn't it?
Well, it just makes sense that we provide the strongest security and safety to athletes who race down snowy slopes and luge tubes at 65 miles an hour.
And you'll be happy to know you're getting your own set of commemorative pins and souvenirs. We've got a lot of extra items to give away. Since the tragedies of September 11, people just aren't stocking up on trinkets and ski gear like they used to.
We've also expanded the number of complimentary tickets, since sales are a little slow. I know, what with opening and closing ceremony tickets going for $880, it is a bit steep.
You can also buy a "foaming beverage pin" to commemorate the foaming beverage of your choice, since of course, you can't actually get an alcoholic beverage without joining one of the private clubs, or eating a meal. Yes, it's a bit stringent, to say the least.
So, have you met any other competitors? Apollo Ohno? Really? NBC commentator Ted Robonson said, "With any luck, Ohno will seize the opportunity to become America's most decorated athlete in these Games - Games that now carry a larger meaning for our country."
Yes, well, I suppose speedskating really doesn't have anything to do with the tragedies, but you know, you kind of represent the spirit of American freedom, I guess.
Oh, really? It cost that much to get here? Well, I guess freedom does come at a price.
Really? If you don't get a medal, you'll just be another forgotten athlete? How many years? Is that so? 43% of former Olympic athletes can't find fulltime work? Boy, that must be frustrating. You must be under a lot of pressure.
Yes, we are, too. Oh, I know the whole bid committee scandal. Very disturbing.
Why, just a few days ago, Frank Joklik, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002, tendered his resignation following new information of improper practices by the former Bid Committee during its pursuit of the Games. He also asked for the resignation of Senior Vice President of Games David Johnson, and announced that the consulting agreement with former SLOC Bid Committee CEO Tom Welch will be terminated.
Two other SLOC employees, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Legal Affairs Kelly Flint and Licensing Director Rod Hamson will take administrative leave pending inquiries into their roles during the bid process. Flint served as outside counsel on a volunteer basis, and became an officer on April 1, 1997. Hamson worked as finance director of the Bid Committee.
Yes, apparently, they bribed International Olympic Committee members to get this bid. Funny how people just forget such things.
Well, of course compared to the current Enron scandal, the Olympics corruption is just a drop in the bucket, right? I mean with Enron, the last time I saw so much shredding was when I watched the X-Games!
Thank you. We do have a sense of humor about things, you know.
Oh, those protestors? Yes, they're upset about the distribution of um, birth control devices. Yes, a little controversial, considering our city is primarily members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and of course we believe in abstinence until marriage. Then, of course, it's a free for all!
I mean, for man and woman couples. Although along with the inclusion of a multicultural festival and arts program, we are putting aside the Church's policies, at least for the duration of the Games.
Some of our organizers held three recruiting sessions during which they asked for gay volunteers. The three recruiting sessions, held at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Utah, encouraged the uh, homosexual community to become Olympic volunteers or employees, and asked gay men and women to open up their homes to families of athletes.
No, there were requests from local gay folk to open their homes to athletes, but unfortunately, you'll have to stay in the Olympic Village.
I'm sure you'll find plenty of fans everywhere. Those uniforms you wear are so ... revealing. It kind of reminds me of a superhero. You know, like The Tick. What a funny show! Have you seen it? Why just a few weeks ago, they had an episode where Arthur, The Tick's sidekick, had to "come out" as a superhero to his family.
The Tick was quite open about his feelings. "I'm out," he said. "I'm waaay out there!"
So, just so you know, I'm okay with your ... superhero identity.
Well, no, I guess that would be difficult to get a corporate sponsorship if you had a boyfriend.
What's that? No, although the Marriott is sponsoring some of the housing, and that hotel chain is owned by the Mormoms, there won't be any of those racy movies they show in their hotels, although perhaps some visitors may be able to enjoy them.
Yes, a strange, um, conundrum, I guess you could call it.
Our state senator Bill Wright is not pleased with such ... martial aid distribution, but he doesn't seem to have a problem with the Church selling adult video rentals in our hotel rooms.
Senator Wright is leading efforts to further tighten sex education laws in Utah, and criticized Olympic leaders for what he calls their "cavalier attitude" toward sex. "It's atrocious that the [Salt Lake Organizing Committee] has come to this," he said. "They should be mature adults who represent their countries in an honest and respectful manner. I don't think this is the way to do it."
Yes, I guess you could call watching adult films to be a form of safe sex.
So, anyway, not to be judgmental, but that's what he said.
I heard athletes are supposed to abstain before a competition, although, perhaps afterward you might feel, well, I mean with those tight uniforms, you might ...
Take me with you! Please take me now! You don't know what it's like, running around in a suit with another hunky closet case! I can't stand it! These damn funny undershorts are so confining! I want to make hot snow sex with you now, you big stud! Please, take me now! Bump my mogul! Wax my ski pole! Plow me! Plow me now!