Mitt Romney has received plenty of plaudits for his takeover of the 2002 Winter Olympics, after the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) became mired in a major bribery scandal. But there's one accomplishment from his time in Salt Lake City that has been largely omitted from the oft-told narrative of his Olympic effort: Romney's success in making the 2002 Winter Olympics one of the most gay-friendly games in Olympic history.
The achievement gets barely a mention in Romney's 2004 book, Turnaround, about his role rescuing the Salt Lake Olympics. Despite the urging of a close associate at SLOC, who suggested that Romney spotlight the committee's work to make the games gay-friendly, the then-Massachusetts governor wrote just three sentences about his pro-gay diversity efforts. But the little-known chapter in the story of Romney's Olympic leadership illustrates how much the GOP presidential candidate has backtracked on gay and lesbian issues since 1994, when he promised to be better on gay rights than his then-opponent for the US Senate, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).