Apocalypse Now | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Apocalypse Now 

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A few years ago, Sports Illustrated mentioned us in their popular little snippet, “Sign of the Apocalypse,” because we were being sued by the United States Olympic Committee for misuse of the Olympic rings. Actually, we never used the rings at all. The USOC took a smart pill and dropped the suit that alleged we had caused “irreparable harm” to the Olympic movement, and I suppose the David vs. Goliath aspect of it had appeal to SI back then. But my, oh my, how mountains of greenbacks and snowdrifts of hypocrisy change things.


Last week, we published a 104-page glossy guide to Salt Lake City that we are distributing free of charge to our readers and visitors. We’ve had requests for our City Guide from bureaus all over town so that they can provide them to anyone looking to become familiar with Salt Lake City. Indeed, SLOC gave us permission to put 5,000 of them, along with City Weekly, at the Salt Palace headquarters for the world’s accredited media.


No sooner were they in place than some zebra from SI gave notice he would have none of it. Nosirreee, he said, SI paid for the media center fair and square and we were quickly relegated to 12th-man-on-the-bench status and into an off-the-beaten-path annex. The SI agreement specifically refers to paid publications; our paper and city guide are free. Plus, we’re talking dining listings here, not triple axels. We’d love to tell you how our publications are moving in there, but the Salt Palace is SI’s house now.


Are we bitter? Nah. What else should we expect from a publication that only a month ago ran the story “Snow Job,” which re-told the Olympic bid scandal for the umpteenth time? We’re not even bitter that SI used the same headline, talked to the same people and pretty much got all the same quotes that we did in our own version back in December 1995. That’s par for a magazine that prides itself on “up to the week” reporting.


Nah, it’s not bitterness, it’s the rub. Here’s SI, forever making audacious when the purity of sport turns out not to be so, all the while playing just as hard and dirty as Tom Welch and Dave Johnson ever were accused of. Do you think SI just filled out a request for bid on the Salt Palace exclusive and won? I don’t. I think this weekend someone is going to be watching the Super Bowl from a prime seat and another lucky sprite will tag along with SI photogs during the next swimsuit issue photo shoot.


If the hospitality and “Olympic” spirit shown by SI is any indication, then look out. But, hey, they paid big bucks and that’s what the Olympics are about, sanctimonious Sports Illustrated included.

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