- Paperback: 397 pages
- Publisher: Regnery Publishing; 1st PAPERBACK edition (June 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781596985148
- ISBN-13: 978-1596985148
- ASIN: 1596985143
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games Paperback – June 1, 2007
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In late 1998, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, the organization responsible for organizing the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, was rocked by a scandal. It was revealed that the SLOC had improperly given bribes to certain members of the International Olympic Committee as a way to help win Salt Lake City's bid to host the 2002 games. The resulting scandal forced the resignation of SLOC's CEO and Mitt Romney was installed in his place in early 1999.
The book primarily recounts Romney's experience during his three years as head of the organizing committee. His main goals were to re-establish credibility with the public following the scandal and making sure the games were secure financially. Romney notes how difficult it could be to make sure they had enough money to do everything they wanted. Not only did they have to carefully look over the budget to find savings and make sacrifices on luxury items, but they also sought ways to find new revenues and new sponsors.
Most of the book is from Romney's perspective and what an executive does as head of an Olympics. He talks a lot about dealing with corporate sponsors and governments both for money and for organizational assistance. For example, security was always a big deal at the Olympics (especially since games in 1972 and 1996 saw terrorist attacks), but this became even more important following 9/11. Not only were law enforcement officials of Utah heavily involved, but police officers from other states and the federal government were required to make sure the games were secure.
I found this book to be an interesting look at the business side of how an Olympics is pulled off. There is very little on the athletes themselves in this book and their triumphs, but is instead focused totally on the business side. I would recommend this book to those interested in such a story.
Mr. Romney highlights the steps he needed to take to get the SLOC back on its feet. As he writes: "It is easy to cut costs. It is a lot harder to do it smart." Raising revenue was also a challenge, since the government provided only security and transportation costs (which, being a few months after 9/11, the government was all too happy to provide). Revenue mostly came from sponsors, whom were sometimes reluctant to be affiliated with a committee known for scandal. In addition, wealthy individuals in Utah were asked for donations. Despite all these difficulties, the SLOC was able to get back on its feet and organize a very successful event.
After a successful turnaround, the SLOC finished with a $56 million budget surplus. $10.5 million was returned to the federal government which, as Mr. Romney speculates, "may have been the first time that has ever happened." This book will make you realize the tremendous challenges and the unique complexity in organizing the Olympic games. My only issue with the book is the large amount of names Mr. Romney throws out there, making it hard to follow at times. However, the book overall is definitely worth reading if you are interested in what goes into producing a successful Olympics and a look into the mind of the man who made it happen.