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Salt Lake 2002 Retrospective

Episode 41 - Caroline Shaw

SLOC Chief Communications Officer Caroline Shaw joins from wine country to discuss affordable housing, Mitt and McDonalds, and 9/11 in Manhattan (recorded 25 June 2020).

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Christian Napier 0:11
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the solid 2002 retrospective podcast, which is a back of house look at the planning and delivery of the solid 2002 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Winter Games, as told by the very people who organized them. I'm Christian Napier. And today, I am thrilled to have our next guest on this podcast. Caroline Shaw. Now, this show has been very much about the stories of those who deliver the Games, and the vast majority of us wear the red shirts, to use Star Trek parlance, who worked down in the bowels of the ship, you know, doing our part to make sure the Enterprise could serve its five year mission to new worlds and whatever. But now we get to go to the bridge, so to speak and talk to a member of the C suite. So Caroline, welcome aboard. How are you?

Caroline Shaw 0:53
I'm great, what a lovely introduction. But I have to say it was such a collaborative team and environment and every person played a critical role in the success of the 2002 Games.

Christian Napier 1:05
I think you're right. And we all did our part. And, and even though, you know, for us people that were the red shirts, down in the bowels of the ship, as I said, it didn't mean that we felt unimportant. I mean, we felt like our job mattered. And we did our job like it did matter. And so we did, we all did. It was a joy. Yeah, it was a joy to work on those Games. Where are you joining us from?

Caroline Shaw 1:26
I'm in beautiful Sonoma, California Wine Country just about an hour north of San Francisco.

Christian Napier 1:33
Oh, that's fantastic. What are you doing up there besides living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet?

Caroline Shaw 1:38
It's true. I recently left Jackson Family Wines, which is a global wine company based here in Sonoma, to lead a startup actually. So far so good. I mean, that's what we do in the Bay Area. Right? We do startups. This one is really focused in on affordable housing, which is a very critical need in California in general, but particularly in Northern California, following the wildfires we'd had both in 2017. And again in 2019.

Christian Napier 2:06
This is so amazing. I'm so glad to hear about that. It's funny, my sister lives in Palo Alto, and affordable housing is crazy. I'm originally from the Bay Area. I'm originally from Burlingame. So you know, I love the -- I still love the Bay Area. How specifically is the startup -- you know, I'm not here to talk about the startup necessarily, but I'm curious about this, you know, how specifically is the work that you're doing, contributing to more affordable housing there in Northern California?

Caroline Shaw 2:36
Well, our team is focused specifically on accessory dwelling units. So we feel we felt the best way to increase the housing stock as quickly as possible after the fires was to create communities of accessory dwelling units we open to, we housed about 20 fire survivors within a year of the fires through donations. And currently, we're looking at expanding that with people in people's backyards. So granny units, if you will, because we feel that's the fastest way to build up the housing stock here in Sonoma County at affordable rate, our housing that we work through is below market, which believe it or not sits at about 1500 dollars for a one or two bedroom in Santa Rosa, California.

Christian Napier 3:20
Yeah, that's -- that's incredible. That's incredible.

Caroline Shaw 3:23
I'm fortunate I'm at a point in my life where I can do some good back into the community. And the other thing I have to say is I'm a marathon runner, post Olympic Games, and I do a lot of training and a lot of long runs. And I have so enjoyed reflecting on all your podcasts. I've downloaded them all. And I feel like I'm having a conversation with Karen Coppel or Darren Hughes. It's just been such a wonderful, wonderful joy to listen to the, to the various memories of the 2002 Games.

Christian Napier 3:50
Well, I really appreciate that. Caroline, it's been a joy for me to do all these podcasts, of course, has been a lot of work. But it's been a huge amount of fun. And I really appreciate you carving time out of your schedule to to come here and take that little stroll down memory lane as we say. And I look forward now to diving into the stories.

Christian Napier 4:20
The first story that I typically ask people is how you how you ended up in Salt Lake City and working for the Salt Lake 2002 Organizing Committee.

Caroline Shaw 4:28
Well, it's it like all of us. It was a journey. I have a background in international relations. I grew up overseas. My dad was a military attache. But I've also had a long passion for winter sports. So prior to the Games, I was a ski bum slash ski industry working in the Utah ski industry, quite frankly. And when the 2002 Games were awarded, I wasn't quite there yet, but right around the time that Mitt Romney came on board I had applied for a position in the marketing and communications team, which is what I was doing in the Utah ski industry and was very, very fortunate to be hired at that time.

Christian Napier 5:07
And your role then was?

Caroline Shaw 5:09
Yeah, I think I started as a director of communications and working under Shelley Thomas. And at some point, she left and I remember Mitt, pulling me into his office with Ed Eynon. And and saying, we're going to make you the communications officer. And I was pretty young at the time, but he had a lot of confidence in me. And as I said, repeatedly, it was a collaborative effort. So I grew and learn from Fraser and Mitt. And from all the wonderful people around me in the Games.

Christian Napier 5:39
Why don't you describe for us what a chief communications officer actually does? I mean, oftentimes, we think of someone being the spokesperson for the Games, but there's much more to it than that. So maybe you can just give us a little Communications 101.

Caroline Shaw 5:54
So we were in charge, obviously, of external and internal communications. That's what a chief communications officer does, the creating of and crafting the message to all the key stakeholders. And as you can imagine, with the Games, there's a lot of key stakeholders, your internal audiences, your employees, the government. I'd say the people of Utah were an incredibly important shareholder, and legislators, the government back in DC after 9/11, it played an even larger role. Being the spokesperson and strategist to Mitt Romney, I think the key piece was really rebuilding our brand and rebuilding the trust after the bid scandal, the bribery scandal. And again, after 9/11, those were the two reputation building moments. And that really meant being open, being transparent, making it available out in the public domain, with Ask Mitt and regular press conferences and town hall meetings to really open up the Games, including our board of directors meetings. So it -- jack of all trades when it came to telling the story of the Games, quite frankly. Yeah, I think that's what a communications professional does, you know, build the brand. And in our case, renew the trust and the Games.

Christian Napier 7:15
Oh, that's all just -- not too much.

Caroline Shaw 7:17
Fortunately, we had Mitt and Fraser at the top. So they were outstanding leaders and spokespeople. I was blessed. And I think one of the things I did early on that made it so successful was develop a deep, important relationship with the local newspapers. Lisa Riley Roche at the Deseret News and Mike Corel at the Salt Lake Tribune. Boy, those are names I haven't mentioned in probably 20 years. But often when the national media comes in, at sporting events, as you know, they look and see what the local reporters, the beat reporters have been doing. And those strong relationships as well as a handful of key reporters that we maintained strong relationships throughout. So I had five or six media, members of the media who I was routinely calling and engaging with almost on a daily basis.

Christian Napier 8:05
Well, my sister would be very happy to hear that she's now the editor of the Tribune. So shout out to the Tribune, the Deseret News, shout out to the local reporters because they are important. And --

Caroline Shaw 8:15
They are. Your local news is very important.

Christian Napier 8:17
Yeah, it's a challenge these days, with the business models all changing. You know, the difficulty in raising the revenues necessary to support local reporting. It's, it's hard. So it's -- so thank you for saying something about the importance of the local reporters.

Christian Napier 8:40
I want to ask you about this, this idea that you you came in and you had to rebuild a brand, the Salt Lake 2002 Games, I mean, the Olympic brand, globally, very, very strong. But Salt Lake was damaged as a result of the IOC scandal. And so you had to do a lot of work there. Why don't you take us through just what that entailed?

Caroline Shaw 9:01
It entailed changing the mindset of the way that the organizing committee and the Olympic Committee operated to a certain extent. And I mentioned it briefly before, in it was transparency to really show trust in who the people were behind the Games. So as I mentioned, we, we opened up our board of directors meetings, we had routine press briefings so people could answer us, Mitt did a monthly Ask Mitt Q&A on KSL Radio, as a matter of fact, to let people call in and ask any questions they wanted to have about the Games. We really, no holds barred, we opened ourselves up to the good and the bad of what people had, were wondering, questioning about the Games. And I think the biggest thing we did was to put the focus back on the athletes. I think so much of that prior prior to Mitt's arrival had been about getting the Games and, and no disrespect to anyone involved prior to that, but it was about the men in suits versus the athletes and anyone who came to the 2002 Games, remembered quite vividly all the athletes, the murals all over downtown. So we took it off the men in suits and really focused on the athletes. And that was very, very strategic and transformative.

Christian Napier 10:24
So interesting you say that. At the same time, the men in suits, as you mentioned, were critical. Mitt and Fraser. And you mentioned that they were great to work with. I'm wondering, from your perspective, what was it about Mitt? What was it about Fraser that helped them propel the Games, really beyond many people's expectations?

Caroline Shaw 10:44
They're generous and kind human beings who truly do believe in the basic belief of what the Olympics represent in terms of the best of the human spirit. And while we certainly had our ups and downs, they understood the importance of being open and transparent in the things that we did. That was very unusual. The IOC was very much a closed organization prior to this, and wanted to showcase the very best of Utah. They also understood the importance of the local community. We would not have been successful without the incredible amount of volunteers who participated in those Games. But at the core of it in short, you know, charismatic, great leaders, were --interacted with the people. They didn't stay on any -- I mean I remember we were at the Wells Fargo building, they didn't stay up in their offices. They got out and were amongst the people.

Christian Napier 11:36
Why don't you tell us about your team Caroline? Because as the chief communications officer is not just us not like a one person show, right? I mean, you're supported by a group of people. How did you construct the team? And how did they end up delivering for you?

Caroline Shaw 11:53
Christian, there were a lot of very capable people pulling together to put on these Games. It was -- we were all so highly motivated to work together. And a lot of that did come from Mitt and Fraser. But it was also this, you know, shared passion for showcasing the best of the Olympics. And wow, the comms team, we were working night and day to tell that story of the people behind the Games. And so I can, you know, Nancy Volmer, and Mark Walker, Shanna MacArthur, they were all working side by side with me. We also had an incredible support from Coltrane and Associates. That was the outside agency that supported us with Lindsay Stevenson, and Jamie Rupert, and of course, Steve. And then the Operations Group was such an important piece. Beth White and her team. And then probably last, but not least, was of course, the USOC. They're very much a part of our -- with Linda Luchetti and Frank Zane. And as I mentioned to you, I am in wine country right now. And I would be remiss if I didn't talk to you about the wine club that happened after the Games. And these are still some of my really close friends. And believe it or not, we have a virtual wine tasting scheduled for July 19, where Cindy Gillespie and Brian Katz and Melissa Raymond and Michelle Bateen. People from the government and legal affairs team are all coming together in just a few weeks.

Christian Napier 13:21
And it's going to be done virtually you say?

Caroline Shaw 13:22
Absolutely, we're all going to select their favorite bottle and explain why we're drinking that particular wine. And it stems from this wine group that was started, actually led by Brian Katz, who's one of our lead attorneys at the time, and would be a good person for you to talk to.

Christian Napier 13:38
Well, I'd love to talk to anybody that you recommend. I'm sure anybody that you would recommend will be amazing. So that would be awesome. I just have to ask one more question about the wine group. In the past before we had this COVID thing did you meet in person to do this tasting and was that always at the venue that you worked at?

Caroline Shaw 13:54
We did meet in person and this happened right after the Games. So we started our meetings in Utah. And then we would occasionally have them as celebratory moments when we would get together on anniversary dates for the Olympics. And then they even came out twice to the vineyard where I work. So it was really just as I said, good friendships were made everywhere throughout the Games. You have them I have them everyone you're speaking to, or have friendships that have lasted now 20 plus years.

Caroline Shaw 14:35
We -- I think you can't miss and you've heard this before and other -- You can't miss the sight of putting on the Games six months after 9/11 and bringing them home to America. It was like a rising -- phoenix rising to a certain extent. Everyone was going to do everything in their power, 110% to make sure the Games were successful, to shine. You know that hometown feeling. I'm not from Utah, but my children were born in Salt Lake City. And it's -- a part of Utah will always be a part of me because of that.

Christian Napier 15:13
Why don't you take us back to that time? A lot of our guests have. You have looked at 9/11 as a very pivotal moment for them. What was that morning like for you? I mean, things were happening very fast, or there was some some chaos in the committee as to, you know, what are we doing? And, and then we get the message from Mitt. Everybody go home.

Caroline Shaw 15:36
So I know a few guests have been emotional. And I'll try and refrain there too. Because New York City's very special to me. I started my career at the United Nations and got married in New York. And Mitt used to always joke with me, it's like you're a different person in New York, you just pick up the pace and go, you know, I become a New Yorker in New York, in the streets of Manhattan. And that's where I was on 9/11. Actually, we had planned to announce the Torch Relay on September 11. In New York City, down at Battery Park with Lady Liberty as a perfect backdrop. You can imagine Mitt with the press stand up and Lady Liberty in the back as we announced who our torch bearers were going to be, and the route of the Torch Telay. But he was in Washington trying to get money along with Cindy Gillespie and got delayed. So we pushed the announcement to September 12. What a blessing that was, in retrospect. But we were, the team was still there, I was there on my way actually down to Battery Park, which those of you who are not from Manhattan is right where the World Trade Center is. And to sort of just review, have a meeting look over the plans when the towers tumbled. And you know, the traffic stopped, and we didn't know what to do. It was a very scary moment for me personally, okay, I couldn't reach my family. And being on, excuse me, the streets of Manhattan at that time, was challenging. And I've seen working at the United Nations some pretty horrific things, man's inhumanity to man, but seeing the devastation in your own country is, was life changing. So excuse me, um, so Mitt, being the leader that he is, and the media, of course, being the media beasts that they were, you know, phones were ringing, people, if you could even get through, it was such a insane time in Manhattan. As I said, I tried to call my family repeatedly and could not get through because the lines were all busy. And people just trying to get out. We were just looking for safety at that point. So I did go back to the hotel. I did touch base with Mitt and Cindy, who were in DC. Fraser was in Salt Lake. And I, you know, I didn't know what to do. It was very scary, scary moment in my life. And Mitt, again, strength came through, he felt strongly this wasn't the time to talk about whether or not the Olympic Games would go on or not. This was a time to talk about unity. So he said to me, and I remember it vividly as if it were yesterday. We're not talking about the Games, we're going to talk about the testimony of the courage of the human spirit, the Olympics, our symbol of peace, and we need them more now than now more than ever. So that's what we did. Christian we, we waited till we could fly again. We were all stuck in New York, and he was stuck in DC. And eventually, at some point, he was able to arrange a private aircraft. And I remember meeting him and Cindy and Philadelphia, and going back to Salt Lake and the first thing he did because of who he is, along with Fraser, was bringing the team together in that open area by the Wells Fargo Center, I can't remember it was a big open space, and talk to people and reassure them that in fact, at this point, now, maybe a week later, the Games would go on. But it was a very traumatic moment in my life for so many more people, of course, who lost loved ones that day. But it also, as we talked about the Salt Lake Games. It changed the Torch Relay. It changed our whole focus. We know as you know, we made it a symbol of moving forward and had the pairing of people, people who inspired other people, and eventually did launch the Torch Relay and announced who the torchbearers would be and a lot of it were people who had been touched by 9/11, people who carried the Olympic flame prior to the Games were had many had been touched by 9/11.

Christian Napier 19:52
I have to ask how did you get out and when were you finally able to make contact with your family?

Caroline Shaw 19:57
Several several hours later, I was able to reach my husband and small children, babies at that time. And we were able to get in a taxi to leave Manhattan. And I'll never forget, as long as I live, driving out of Manhattan, the traffic jam going over the George Washington Bridge and the the, the flames, the plume of smoke, as far as you can see along the whole skyline of Manhattan. It was horrible. It was horrible.

Christian Napier 20:28
Unimaginable, it's unimaginable. But like you said, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Games, the Games carried on.

Caroline Shaw 20:37
Again, I can't emphasize enough bringing the world together six months, just six months after 9/11 when we had athletes in Scandinavia, other places they didn't want to go, security was up. And the issue, you know, at a certain point, people weren't even flying. But we, this team, all of us collectively brought the world together and celebrated one of the greatest Games I think the world has seen since then.

Christian Napier 21:00
I don't know the future, I hope that the Games can serve a similar role next year in Tokyo.

Caroline Shaw 21:07
I hope so too.

Christian Napier 21:08
We're going through the perfect storm of pandemic, economic collapse and social unrest. And, as I, for my speaking for myself, my own family, it's really the first thing that my children have really experienced. I mean, they were too young, really to remember 9/11. And they were still too young to really understand the impact of the financial crisis of 2008. But they're all in university or recently graduated from university now. And they're all feeling the impacts of this in their lives. And, and it's hard for them. And I hope that sport and the Olympic Games -- I hope, fingers crossed, they happen next year in Tokyo. I hope they can serve as a as a beacon of hope, just like Salt Lake 2002 did.

Caroline Shaw 21:57
I hope from your mouth to God's ears.

Christian Napier 22:08
You mentioned at the outset, how you turned the focus from the men in suits to the athletes. And there were some great stories during the Games from the competitions and the athletes. I'm curious if there are any of those stories that are kind of, you know, personal highlights for you.

Caroline Shaw 22:26
So many come to mind, of course. And as I mentioned, I was a huge winter sports junkie. But I too, when I told my husband, I was going to go work for the Olympic Games, he said, Sure, you can be gone -- because we had one year olds at home and he was like, you can be gone as much as you want, so long as I get a ticket to the medal rounds of both Olympic hockey Games. So I that was a promise I kept to my husband and those Games, while the US, United States came in silver and both the men's and the women's hockey Games. They were just tremendous Games to watch. And Mike Eruzione, who of course, lit the Olympic flame was sitting near us and the Olympic box. And that was -- he's been a lifelong hero of my husband's so that was a very, very special treat. You know, you could talk about Apollo Onho, you could talk about Derek Parra. But the one that really resonates me the story and I hope people remember this was Jimmy Shea, the skeleton. He came from a life of three generations of Olympians. And we were going to have his grandfather, his father and himself all walk in during the Olympic ceremony, the opening ceremonies. And tragically, if you can remember his grandfather, who was I think 90, 91 at the time, he died three weeks before the Games in a terrible automobile accident. And so Jimmy and his father still carried on and were part of our opening ceremonies. But certainly his story and meeting him and that many people probably didn't know, he had a picture of his grandfather in his helmet. And he won the gold medal on behalf the United States. And I think on behalf of his grandfather that day, and it was pretty, pretty amazing to see Jimmy Shea win that gold medal and carry on the Olympic legacy of three generations of Shea family members.

Christian Napier 24:28
That's a really, really fantastic story. Excuse me. I hadn't thought of that one for a long time. I do remember it. So thank you for bringing it back to the front of mind for me. I know that you came prepared and you've got some notes. I want to make sure that you get to those stories before I before I wrap this up and cut you off. So what else have you got on the list there, Caroline, that maybe you would like to share with us?

Caroline Shaw 24:52
Sure. I briefly touched on it already. Mike Eruzione. What an incredible human being and just the whole Miracle on Ice team from the 1980 Olympics that, after all that work of all the years leading up to the Games, and I'm sure each one of us who are in that arena that night, got goosebumps seeing the flame lit. On a funnier side. I was going to share with you that Mitt used to eat McDonald's -- only McDonald's hamburgers, and just the plain hamburger, not the Big Macs. And McDonald's, as you know, was a big sponsor. And even when we went to Moscow once to meet with Putin. And it was an IOC meeting in Moscow. He's still like, you go, let's go eat at McDonald's. I probably shouldn't share this story. But one day I was pulling into the garage. And off in the corner, I saw this man that looked like Mitt. Eating like in his little in the front seat of his car, and I remember walking over and tap-tap-tap on the window and said, What are you doing? He said, I'm starving. And I knew that if I took it upstairs, everyone would be asking me questions and I'd get busy. I wouldn't have time to eat. So he was sitting there, literally eating a just single hamburger in the garage of the building, all by himself, just to get a bite to eat before he got harangued with a bunch of phone calls.

Christian Napier 26:19
That's so funny!

Caroline Shaw 26:20
Sounds like him though. Yeah.

Christian Napier 26:23
Yeah, um, I have to say, I do have a weakness for McDonald's overseas for whatever reason. I never eat it here, but if I go overseas, at least once wherever I'm at in whatever see is if there's a McDonald's there. I have to go. I have to go try it.

Caroline Shaw 26:40
I hear you buddy. When I was a kid growing up, this is before they were on every street corner. It would be a treat to drive into a big city and find a McDonald's and have you know when I was living overseas and find a McDonald's and have an American hamburger. So it's funny how it gives that comfort that it's still comfort food to this day.

Christian Napier 27:01
Although I have to say when our kids were younger, one summer we took them to Europe, and we went into a McDonald's in Switzerland. And they had a nine piece Chicken McNuggets and my son was like, why are they so cheap in Europe? It should be 10 pieces. Why do we have a nine piece Chicken McNuggets it should be 10 pieces.

Christian Napier 27:29
Okay, Caroline, this has been it's been a real joy. Thank you so much for for taking your time to share your stories with us. Before we conclude we do have some assignments.

Caroline Shaw 27:41
I have those. I have my assignments done.

Christian Napier 27:43
I never doubted for a second.

Caroline Shaw 27:45
Thank you.

Christian Napier 27:45
First assignment --

Caroline Shaw 27:46
Still looking for that gold star.

Christian Napier 27:51
Yeah, you get enough of those and you get a pin you know, or something right? Okay, first assignment is about music. Is there a particular song that you hear or it could be several songs or a particular group of artists that you hear today? And whenever you hear it that takes you right back to Salt Lake 2002?

Caroline Shaw 28:08
There are too many to list. I've heard several of your guests talk about Barenaked Ladies and of course Light the Fire Within from Aretha Franklin is one that really resonates with me. And with her recent passing I think it just elevates to the top.

Christian Napier 28:21
An excellent choice. We can't put it on the Spotify playlist because it's not on Spotify, but people --

Caroline Shaw 28:26
I know, I found that. I did -- one other I was gonna mention. Did you -- in the closing ceremonies Willie Nelson sang Bridge over Troubled Water.

Christian Napier 28:37
Yes, it's beautiful. And we haven't actually aired the episode yet. But yeah, we had a guest that actually made reference about that.

Caroline Shaw 28:47

Christian Napier 28:48
Bridge over Troubled Water and so it's on the playlist as well.

Caroline Shaw 28:52
Good. Okay.

Christian Napier 28:53
Yeah, it's a great rendition. Okay, food. A particular restaurant that you like to frequent when you were working there at SLOC?

Caroline Shaw 28:59
So I'm gonna share my not so healthy -- Crown Burger was great to run to. And is it still there in Salt Lake today? They have

Christian Napier 29:08
Oh yeah it is. There are several locations and I'm a huge fan of Crown Burger.

Caroline Shaw 29:12
So that's this. That's terrible to say. And then I have to say any of the Deer Valley restaurants. The Deer Valley turkey chili is something I've tried to make home here at home in California just to try and replicate it, but it never quite tastes as good as it does at Deer Valley.

Christian Napier 29:28
Well, we've got both ends. We've got the, we got the burger joint, and we've got the very posh Deer Valley so --

Caroline Shaw 29:35
That's me, that's my life.

Caroline Shaw 29:36
Yeah, there you go. And our final question for you. You've shared so many beautiful Olympic moments, but what would you consider to be your goose bump moment?

Caroline Shaw 29:46
You asked me about a goose bump moment. And I think all of us who brought the world together just six months after 9/11 knew somehow that we had to bring that very tragic day into our opening ceremonies. I mean, it touched every citizen, every American, but certainly everyone involved in the Games. And so the thought was the collective minds who were putting on the ceremonies thought that maybe during the Parade of Nations, you know how the host countries all come in, and they're usually the last course, you know, like you've done so many events, we decided that it would come in at the very end after the parade of athletes with eight Americans carrying the flag. And we were fortunate to get the, the actual flag that had flown on the north tower of the World Trade Center that day and had been recovered from the rubble of ground zero. So this had very, very significant, very significant memory. And I mean, just it meant, it represented what that day, and all those lives that were lost that day. Anyway, what was surprising to us is when we told the IOC of our plans, they said, no. Yeah, the IOC said, no. They were very concerned about it, appearing as a nationalistic sentiment. And this comes back to the days of, I guess, Hitler in the 1930s, where they didn't want the Olympics to be a national movement, they really wanted it to be, you know, a celebration of sport. So I remember running into Mitt's desk, and office and all stressed out and like, oh, my, the media is going to have a frenzy with this I mean, because everyone loved the idea and the concept, and we'd already sort of shared, guess what, we're gonna have the World Trade Center flag be part of our opening ceremonies, I mean, I still get goosebumps thinking of it. So this is all happening just two days before the opening ceremony. So you can imagine the tension that was going on and 48 hours ahead of time. So Mitt is, as Mitt does, stood up for what was right and said he respectfully disagreed, and that this was a world tragedy, not one of national pride. So believe it or not, now we're 24 hours from the start of the Games, emotions were running high on all ends. And we were trying to brainstorm. There's a special meeting called and the IOC, and we're trying to brainstorm. What can we do? And should we host the flag? Well the flag was too fragile to put up on the the flagpole. And so, you know, crisis is upon us. And believe it or not, Jacques Rogge, the incoming president of the IOC thought, well, maybe if it wasn't part of the Parade of Nations, but was part of this general opening ceremony. We would do that. And so crisis averted. And to answer your question, the most impactful goosebump moment for me, was clearly when that flag came in, before the Parade of Nations and eight athletes carried it in. And it was an electrifying moment, that very special, the entire stadium went quiet. And this wind came through and you felt like the spirit of all those lost souls were with us celebrating peace and unity, at that very special night on February 8.

Christian Napier 33:09
Well, Caroline, thank you very much for sharing such a significant moment. It was mentioned by many people on this podcast as a magical, heartfelt, cathartic moment for them. So I really appreciate you also adding some additional context to it, because I didn't know the backstory of it. And so I appreciate you sharing that.

Caroline Shaw 33:27
Yeah, I think it almost didn't happen.

Caroline Shaw 33:36
I mentioned to you that I wanted to read something. But these people, this team were the most passionate, the most committed, the most professional. Many of them are still close friends of mine. And as I mentioned to you listening to the podcast, I felt like it had been yesterday when I when I heard their voices and their stories. This, the Games no doubt were the best in my career. And I've worked at the United Nations I've worked in the NBA. I have been in wine country. I mean, it's beautiful up here working in the wine industry, in the hospitality, but putting on the 2002 Games were the best of my career. And if you'll just indulge me, I recently reached out to Mitt Romney. And I thought I'd just read this quick email, if you will indulge me. I wrote, "Hi Mitt. Eeading your name in the paper or seeing you on TV often evokes a sense of pride and fond memories of the Salt Lake Games. This week surpasses all those emotions. Seeing you walk side by side with the protesters and speaking out against racism and police brutality was indeed in this very divided nation a profile in courage. In my career, I've had ten different bosses. People I reported to in varying organizations. Mostly good, one terrible. Just one who I viewed as exceptional. That was you. You are a front row to leadership. And I want to thank you for still lighting the fire within. Caroline."

Christian Napier 35:20
Well, that's beautiful, and it perfectly encapsulates it. You're right, we are a nation divided and, and people have a wide range of opinions about Mitt. But talking with our friends and colleagues in the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, every single one of them, sing his praises and think that he was really the model, the model leader.

Caroline Shaw 35:42
I did. So the goose bump was clear, the 9/11 flag, but the resonating for the rest of my life was the people of the 2002 Games. And those who put them on, the people who volunteered. And the people I got to work with side by side every day.

Christian Napier 35:58
That is perfectly said. Caroline, thank you so much for sharing, very touching, heartfelt, interesting and insightful stories. I really, really appreciate it. If people want to reconnect with you through social media or other means. Learn more about the things that you're doing with your nonprofit, or other things. What's the best way for them to do so?

Caroline Shaw 36:19
I would love to reconnect with anyone. You can find me on LinkedIn easily just type in Caroline Shaw and the 2002 Games, or my personal email is

Christian Napier 36:37
All right, fantastic. Caroline. Again, thank you so much, listeners, please like and subscribe to our podcast. And we'll talk to you again next week. Caroline, thank you.

Caroline Shaw 36:45
Thank you. It's been a pleasure to speak with you this afternoon.

Friends Socializing


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