It was the year the world — including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl — came to Denver. What they saw wasn’t always pretty.
Not since Gary Hart went boating has there been a year when Denver and Colorado spent so much time in the national spotlight. Between JonBenét, the Oklahoma City bombing trials, the Summit of the Eight, Air Force pilot Craig Button’s stolen A-10 attack jet, and the death of John Denver, you would almost expect CNN to move its studios from Atlanta to the Mile-High City.
By and large, we came out looking pretty good. Still, there were moments. Who can forget German chancellor Helmut Kohl’s critique of Denver’s Saturday night gala at the Summit? After three hours of Chuck Berry, Crystal Gayle, and Michael Bolton, Kohl exclaimed “I don’t know much English, but this is shit.” (Normally we wouldn’t be too concerned about the opinion of a man whose country idolizes David Hasselhoff, but in this case it was hard to argue.)
It didn’t end there, of course. What follows is a look back at the goofier side of Denver in 1997. All in all, it was a memorable year.