Salt Lake City, 2002
After running the successful Winter Games in Utah, Romney was seen as a white knight for saving what had been a scandal-plagued event. He then turned his attention back to Massachusetts and began laying the groundwork for his gubernatorial race.
US President George W. Bush (right), Salt Lake Olympic Committee president Mitt Romney (center), and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge arrive February 8, 2002, for the opening ceremony of the XIX Winter Olympics at the Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Romney arrived at the summer Games as Democrats back in Massachusetts began complaining that the governor was too often out of state and uninterested in his job. Romney countered that his attendance was required and that staying at home would have been an insult to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge. On his three-day visit, Romney also visited with George H.W. Bush on a private yacht, sat down for interviews with national media, and became the first recipient of a new award established by supporters of the Olympics. When asked by the Globe if he would run for governor in 2006, Romney had three answers (first saying, "Absolutely," before amending to "no final decision" had been made, and then settling on, "The expectation is to run again.")
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Governor Romney and his wife, Ann, check out the view from the rooftop of the Hotel Grande Bretagne.
Entering the final year of his term as governor, Romney and his wife, Ann, headed to Italy for the opening ceremonies and took part in the Olympic torch relay. They took in figure skating, short-track speedskating, and women's freestyle moguls. They sat behind first lady Laura Bush and her daughter Barbara for one event.
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Governor Romney accepts the Olympic torch as he takes part in the traditional relay in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 10, 2006.
While at the Games, Romney took in a women's beach volleyball game and noticed that people were taking his picture. "I said, 'Ann, sit up straight, look they're all taking our picture,'" Romney later recounted. "And she goes like this, and I turn around. And there's Kobe Bryant sitting right behind me." Romney was also spotted shaking hands with President George W. Bush at a swimming event. Before the Games, Romney urged Chinese officials to reconsider their decision to revoke the visa of Joey Cheek, a former speedskater and human rights activist who had been planning to attend the Olympics to draw attention to the ethnic conflict in Sudan's Darfur region. Romney wrote a letter
to top Chinese government officials and the Chinese Olympic committee president, reminding them of the help he offered in its bid for the Games and unsuccessfully urging them to give Cheek a visa.
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President of the United States, George W. Bush shakes hands with former Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at the swimming arena at the National Aquatics Center during day 2 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 10, 2008 in Beijing, China.
While leaving the Games, Romney got into an altercation with hip-hop singer Sky Blu of the rap group LMFAO. Romney had asked the rapper, who was sitting in front of his wife, Ann, to raise his seat during takeoff after he had reclined it. There were differing accounts over who got physical first. Romney said he didn't retaliate; Sky Blu said Romney "grabbed my shoulder, and I was like, boom, get off me" (he also referred to Romney's move as a "Vulcan grip"). The Air Canada flight, bound for Los Angeles, returned to the gate and the rapper was removed from the plane by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
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United States vice-president Joe Biden talks with former govenor Mitt Romeny and Mike Eruzione attend women's ice hockey preliminary game between United States and China at UBC Thunderbird Arena on February 14, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.
Romney is planning to attend the Opening Ceremonies and is then likely to embark on a trip to Israel to meet with dignitaries. Romney also has another distinction this year: a horse in the race. The horse that Ann Romney is a part-owner of, Rafalca, is competing in the dressage competition.
Victor J. Blue/ For the New York Times
Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, pets her horse Rafalca at the United States Equestrian Federation National Grand Prix Dressage Championship and Selection Trial for the Olympic Games at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, NJ, Saturday, June 16, 2012. Ms. Romney is the owner of Rafalca, at 15-year-old Oldenburg mare trained by her long time trainer Jan Eberling, who finished fourth today and made the Olympic team.
Patrick Garvin/Globe Staff