Olympic torch debate fizzles | AspenTimes.com

Olympic torch debate fizzles

Jennifer Davoren

Glenwood Springs is still upset that Aspen will get to host the Olympic torch next year, and the town’s mayor planned to air his unhappiness during a debate on a Denver radio station.

Instead, his pleas went nowhere and the disc jockeys conducting the program appeared more interested in the skiing conditions in Aspen than they were in Glenwood’s hurt feelings.

Mayor Sam Skramstad and Aspen public relations director Linda Gerdenich were invited to participate in a debate Sunday morning on KOA News Radio in Denver. They were told the discussion would be about the decision by Olympics organizers to bring the flame to Aspen for a lunch-time celebration.

Glenwood officials are upset because they have worked for months to bring the torch to their town. Aspen officials, on the other hand, were simply informed by Olympics organizers that they wanted to bring the torch to Aspen, without any lobbying on the city’s part.

The torch will spend about 15 minutes in Glenwood on its way to Grand Junction.

Gerdenich and Skramstad hoped they could use the radio program to air their concerns and discuss scheduling solutions with Mark Walker, media and communications manager for the Salt Lake Olympic Committee. However, Skramstad said the show’s disc jockeys weren’t interested in discussing the topic at hand.

“It was strictly for entertainment, a drive-time sort of thing,” he said. “It was not an interview. They led me into a lot of things and never really gave me the chance to respond.”

Gerdenich said the talk was steered away from the torch tour to Aspen’s skiing conditions and high cost of living.

“The only thing they really asked me was, `Is Aspen going to serve [the torch bearers] wine and caviar?'” she said.

Skramstad said his city is moving forward with its effort to get the torch to spend more time in Glenwood.

“We have a meeting Wednesday to find out what the route’s going to be,” he said.

Gerdenich said Aspen officials are still developing plans for the luncheon and are looking for local people to carry the famous flame.

“We’re encouraging people to nominate torch bearers,” she said. “May 15 is the deadline, and I think that’s what we need to promote.”

According to the official Olympics Web site at http://www.saltlake2002.com, an exact torch relay route will be released later this year.

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