Olympic Legacy | Deep End | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Deep End

Olympic Legacy

Gang back together again for 2022



The new Olympic Exploratory Committee has promised to pull out all the stops to bring the 2022 Winter Games back to Salt Lake City. Responding to Gov. Herbert’s charge to be “inclusive and transparent,” the committee’s first order of business was to set up the Special Subgroup on Blatant Bribery. According to committee spokesman Theron B. Smoot, citizens of all ages will be encouraged to participate in the effort to buy the votes of the International Olympic Committee.

“Everyone knew that we lavished gifts, money, medical procedures and so-called scholarships on the IOC to get the 2002 bid,” Mr. Smoot said, “but we had to feign innocence and make Welch and Johnson the fall guys when the bribery scandal hit the fan. Instead of pleading amnesia or asserting purity of soul or blaming shredded files on deaf-mutes with double hearing aids, this time around we will be brazenly open about making payoffs to members of the International Olympic Committee. Already, we have made several media buys on local TV to broadcast what we will call ‘Bribery Updates.’ Catchy, don’t you think?”

To assist the initial funding of the bid effort, the Exploratory Committee has flown in former IOC member Jean-Claude Ganga from the Congo Republic. As everyone knows, Mr. Ganga was the grateful recipient of a pile of hard cash, as well as a knee replacement from SLOC (Salt Lake Olympic Committee) back in the early ’90s. Before answering questions from the media, Mr. Ganga (“call me Claude”) paused in front of the trophy case in City Hall, where relics of the 2002 Olympics are cased.

“Lookee there,” Mr. Ganga exclaimed in a fit of giggles, “there be my old knee bone right next to Mit Romney’s yellow beret! There be Spence and Deedee and Orrin’s denials! And there be Mike’s spotless inventory of pure soul and Frank’s amnesia and Tom’s smiley wink-wink and the waxy hearing aid of Jim’s legal clerk! Oh, Lordy, what fun we have with Olympic spirit filling our bowels large and small! It most truly be Ganga Time!”

After much pulling and tugging, spokesman Smoot was able to maneuver Mr. Ganga down the steep steps of City Hall and insert him into a waiting SUV that would transport him to receive full scholarships for his extended family, and aroma therapy and full-body massage for himself. From there, the irrepressible Mr. Ganga was scheduled to make the rounds and shake down the well-to-do, followed by a soothing and comp’d visit to a dental hygienist.

Although the Exploratory Committee will neither confirm nor deny it, a persistent rumor making the rounds has it that a reality show is in development called The Ganga Gang. Utah movers and shakers, known affectionately as The Usual Personages, will drop in at Ganga’s digs in the spanking-new City Creek penthouse to reminisce about the old days and make plans for the 2022 games. Beneficiaries of SLOC largesse back in the ’90s, distinguished IOC relatives like Sonia Essomba, Sibo Sibanze and Suhel Attarabulsi will rub shoulders and get down with Salt Lake City’s illustrious usual personages. A regular guest will be the still-mysterious deaf-mute with double hearing aids who, despite his careless shredding of incriminating Olympic documents, was provided with a nice annuity by SLOC.

Meanwhile, up at the most visible relic of the 2002 Olympics, the cauldron standing outside Rice-Eccles Stadium like an excommunicated satellite dish, Mit’s Bain buddy and erstwhile chief financial officer of the 2002 games, Fraser Bullock, was having a hell of a time lighting the cauldron in a 10-year commemoration of the long-forgotten Olympics. In the background, a ragtag high school band was doing its best to play the Olympic theme song, “Baby, You Can Light My Fire.”

The failure to re-ignite the Olympic cauldron has been taken by some stiff-necked naysayers as a bad omen. Even if you are a fan of Olympic pomposities, can the games themselves, like love, really be better the second time around? As pop icon Madonna likes to say, “Been there, done that.”

Conspicuously absent from the Olympic anniversary was the savior and holy spirit of the 2002 Salt Lake City games, Mit Romney, whose salty tongue and yellow beret provided the world with the most indelible Olympic memories. But insiders say Mit is onboard for an Olympic return to Salt Lake City, particularly since he has been actively campaigning to include a new Olympic event, the transcontinental dog-on-the-top-of-the-car competition.

D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.