Missouri Man Reflects on Olympic Memories

6 years 4 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, February 12 2014 Feb 12, 2014 Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3:31:00 PM CST February 12, 2014 in News
By: Elizabeth Kuhlmanm, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Before any medals are passed out, before any athletes slide down the slopes, a torch is lit. The symbolic Olympic tradition will forever be embedded in the memory of Columbia resident Larry Mankin.

It was during Mankin's time as the president and CEO of the Kalamazoo, Michigan Chamber of Commerce he received a call from a headhunter in Dallas, Tx. The headhunter told Mankin he wanted him to consider a job as the president and CEO of a city that would soon be hosting an international event.

Mankin went through the process of several interviews and finally said he would take the job serving as the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, only if it meant he could be involved with the international event. In 1999, Mankin eventually found himself in Salt Lake City, just about the same time it was announced the city would host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. 

From there, Mankin said it was a whirlwind. Buildings went up, one bridge was expanded from four lanes to 12 lanes, a light rail system was constructed, and all of the Olympic infrastructure was created.

"You just imagine having a city that brings people in from all over the world during the winter for skiing and activities," Mankin said. "Imagine having an extra having an extra 120,000 people in town everyday."

One of the most symbolic mementos of the Olympic games is the torch. Thousands of people carried the torch, all who met the standard, as Lankin said, of doing something that inspires others. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney saw something in Mankin and nominated him to be one of the 11,000 people to carry the Olympic torch.

"I picked the letter up and said, 'no it's not me, I haven't been nominated. I'm Larry Mankin I run a Chamber of Commerce, who would I inspire, why would anybody give me the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch,'" Mankin said. "I thought, wow life was really good."

He said he believes he took over a chamber and it was his leadership he said inspired his fellow leaders and showed the dedication it takes to host such an enormous event.

Mankin carried the torch at 9:30 in the morning for about two minutes in West Salt Lake City, two minutes he describes as one most memorable Olympic moments for him. Early that morning Mankin thought no spectators would be there to witness his carrying of the torch. He was wrong. Thousands of people lined the street to watch a moment of Olympic history.

"I kinda felt like a rock star, " Mankin said. "It was just an amazing experience and very inspiring. It is just one of those things I will never forget."

As one of the torch bearers, Mankin was given the opportunity to purchase his torch. To remember his time serving on the Olympic Board, Mankin displays this torch on a plaque in his house, surrounded by pictures and other pins that memorialize his experience.

Since his time in Salt Lake City, Mankin has relocated to Columbia where he said there is nothing he likes more than to share his Olympic token.

"I play the game of holding it right where they are supposed to. For the kids it always brings that excitement back. It is like the gift that keeps on giving," Mankin said.

As he watches the games in Sochi, Mankin said they bring back many memories. 

"The opening ceremonies is one of the most amazing things you can ever expect," Mankin said. "Prior to the time that the lights come on and all the actives begin, it is just electric." 

As for any future plans regarding the Olympics, Mankin said he would love to go back.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the mandatory mask ordinance Monday night. The order will go... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 12:46:00 AM CDT July 07, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA -The community came together Monday night to remember victims of a double homicide . People came together in... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 10:23:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -- Monday Governor Mike Parson signed HB 2046. Inside the omnibus bill was coroner training reform Jay Minor's... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 7:13:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY —Gov. Mike Parson will sign an omnibus bill that increases prison sentences and eliminates probation for certain violent... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 6:14:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police have arrested a 16 year old boy in connection to a shooting that resulted in a... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 6:09:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — A University of Maryland administrator and head of fundraising will be MU's next vice chancellor for advancement,... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 5:25:36 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 5:00:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —The Columbia/Boone County Health Department trained 15 city employees in contact tracing Monday. But the county is still at... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 4:50:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY- Patrick Mahomes has signed a 10-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. This new contract will keep... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 4:11:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
BELLE —Police charged two suspects with assault Monday after a man was found with serious injuries. Police arrested 21... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 3:03:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 2:34:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Emotions over mask-wearing mandates are high. KOMU spoke to MU Health Care infectious disease doctor, Dr. Christelle Ilboudo,... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Missouri basketball star Laurence Bowers kicked off his sixth annual basketball camp on Monday with the largest... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 12:59:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in Sports
COLUMBIA— Brian Weimer, major of operations with the MU Police Department, has been named interim chief of MUPD, according to... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 12:52:14 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
MISSOURI - The Missouri State Highway Patrol released its 2020 4th of July incident numbers in a news release Monday.... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 12:02:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 11:02:00 AM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Around 30 years ago, a town in Oregon retrofitted an old van, staffed it with young medics and... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 10:49:19 AM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia City Council is set to vote on a face mask order at their meeting Monday. The... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 6:21:00 AM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
5am 73°
6am 72°
7am 74°
8am 78°