The Washington Post

Did Romney ensure a great Olympics?

(Sean Kilpatrick/AP)

And yet, not a word of praise from anyone — not even the conservative punditocrary — on the pivotal role that presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney might have played in ensuring not only a smoothly run event but also the mother country’s highest number of medals in more than a century. Romney even succeeded in uniting the entire country.

The British won a stunning 29 golds, third to the United States and China, and 65 medals in all, which put them in fourth place behind the Russians. That beats their 1908 high of 56 medals — but that was back when there were only about two dozen countries competing.

Let’s not forget that, just before the games, there were numerous concerns raised in the media about how they were being run.

Romney, interviewed on NBC News, said there were “a few things that were disconcerting — stories about the private security firm not having enough people” and of a possible strike by “immigration and customs officials.” He said much will depend on whether the Brits “come together” to support the games.

Sounded like a perfectly reasonable analysis. But the British went positively batty, with Cameron slamming Utah, where Romney ran the Games in 2002, as “the middle of nowhere.” London Mayor Boris Johnson revved up a crowd by slamming “a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we’re ready.”

So maybe Romney’s remarks sparked British officials and athletes to perform better than they otherwise would have? Did he salvage a second Olympic Games?

Well, probably shouldn’t wait for a “thank you” for his efforts.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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