About 35 members of the Salt Lake City Bid Committe for the Olympic Winter Games listened as Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the International Olympic Committee to England during its opening meeting.
"It is no exaggeration to say the eyes of the world will be on the results of your deliberations," the queen told IOC delegates and others in attendance during the nearly two-hour program.Many of the 240 or so Utahns in England to support Salt Lake City's bid for the 1998 Winter Games missed an earlier appearance by the queen because they were en route from London, where they had attended a reception held on behalf of the state at the U.S. Embassy Tuesday night.
And members of the bid committee were too busy lobbying for IOC votes to attend the dedication ceremonies for this industrial city's new International Convention Centre.
The site of the 1998 Winter Games will be announced Saturday at noon, MDT. Salt Lake City is competing for the Games against Nagano, Japan; Ostersund, Sweden; Jaca, Spain; and Aosta, Italy.
Tuesday night's gathering at the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square was much less formal than the IOC's opening meeting. The two-hour reception attracted nearly 400 guests from Utah and England, most of them wearing cowboy hats.
It was one of the largest receptions ever held at the U.S. Embassy in London, according to Tom Kelsey, an embassy official. Kelsey said the IOC meeting in Birmingham attracted many of the guests.
The purpose of the $40,000 bash, paid for entirely with donations from the Britain-based parent company of Kennecott, RTZ Corp., and Utah Power & Light, was to showcase Utah's tourism and economic development opportunities.
The cowboy hats, however, were what attracted the most attention. Both Utahns and their English guests donned the white straw hats trimmed with a blue ribbon reading simply, "Utah!"
Even some members of the embassy staff got into the spirit of the Western-style event by sporting the hats. "I'll wear it when I ride the range," Ian Kell, an embassy security guard, drawled in an unmistakable British accent.
"This is the fun part of being governor, to get out and get around," Gov. Norm Bangerter said from beneath his cowboy hat. The governor and Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis weren't the only politicians at the reception -seven members of the British Parliament also made brief appearances.
Drinks, including gin and tonics, were circulated among the guests throughout the evening, which ended at 8 p.m. One of the bartenders said orange juice was the most popular beverage, especially among Utahns.
Utah officials labeled the evening a success. `I have a pocketful of business cards," said Stan Parrish, director of the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
At least one British businessman learned something about what Utah has to offer at the reception.
"The Beehive State. The Wasatch Mountains, right? The Mormons," were what Malcolm Lovett, an official with a defense engineering firm based in England, said he knew about Utah by evening's end.