Greg Harney, my colleague who then was the USOC's Managing Director of International Games Preparation, opened the subject and Rob Stull, a two-time Olympic pentathlete and fencer, came up with the suggestion that the USOC might attempt to find and bring the World Trade Center flag to Salt Lake City.
As the weeks passed Scanella got the approval to bring the flag to the Games, and that's when things really became complicated............during those times, Harney
, Bull and senior USOC
staffers like me would often set in motion programs and initiatives designed to assist Olympic athletes and promote the mission of the USOC without full disclosure or approval from the volunteer leadership, which tended to be a bureaucratic minefield where good intentions could be derailed by politics.
presented the full program we had fashioned to the IOC on site in Salt Lake during the week ahead of the Opening Ceremony, it set off a major controversy...........Greg had asked me what I felt earlier about the idea of having the flag carried into the ceremonies by five athletes and one official, who happened to be me, at the rear of our delegation as it entered the stadium last as the host nation's team.
had suggested that I ponder taking part because I was retiring after the Games and ending my association that began with the 1980 Games in Lake Placid..............I loved the overall concept and how it might please our nation, but when Harney
presented the idea to the IOC that week, it was rejected as being "too political.
I told Bull and Harney
at the time that it would take just hours before a national firestorm would erupt over the decision, led by the media, which was attuned to the national mood.