Romney reflects on past, future Olympics at 15-year anniversary of Salt Lake City Games

Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-04 20:54:26-05

SOLDIER HOLLOW - Hundreds gathered on the snow Saturday to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Olympics.

"This brings back wonderful memories," said Robert Duncan, a volunteer from 2002.

Hats, coats, cowbells and more bearing the 2002 Olympic emblem filled the streets and stands as Soldier Hollow hosted the World Junior Cross Country Skiing championships. Perhaps the most notable attendee was Mitt Romney, who served as the President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games Committee.

"The Olympics were the highlight of my professional career," a smiling Romney said as he shook hands with fans.

The prospects of Salt Lake City hosting a future Winter Olympics, even the 2026 Olympics, have long been talked about, especially since the upkeep on the facilities from 2002 has continued.

"And one of the most amazing things from those Olympics is that all those venues are still being used," Romney pointed out.

The former Presidential candidate was making a rare public appearance since President Donald Trump took office in January. The pair notably exchanged barbs leading up to the 2016 election.

Later, they seemed to have brushed their past aside when Trump considered Romney for Secretary of State. Speaking to reporters Saturday, Romney shared his thoughts on President Trump's first days in office.

“I think what people recognize is that he’s doing what he said he’d do," Romney said of Trump. "I’m sure that’s very encouraging to a lot of people. I think all of us, whether we are for him or someone else, have high hopes for our president.”

As for whether Romney would consider a future run, "Oh no, I'm getting too old for that," he said.

But Romney seemed to be rejuvenated by the discussion of the possibility that Salt Lake City could host the Olympics in the future.

“I think they’ll be back," Romney said with a smile. "I just don’t know when.”

Former Olympic Committee Organizer Frasier Bullock says 2026 in Salt Lake City is a possibility, but one that hinges on other variables.

"The question is timing," Bullock said. "We have to see what happens in LA."

Los Angeles has a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. If that goes through, the thought is that a city in the U.S. may be less likely to land a Winter Games so soon afterward. However, if Salt Lake City gets the nod, both Bullock and Romney say they're game to jump in and help.

“I’d be happy to help in any way," Romney added. "But, I’m sure there will be a new team, a young team that will take the reins. But us older guys would be as involved as they’d let us be.”