Transcript: Going for Gold

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 10, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: While interest seems low for the Games, at least for now, the Olympics usually do end up being a pretty big deal, and certainly a very, very big deal for Home Depot (HD). Not only is it a major sponsor of the Games, but — get this — over 30 of its employees are in the Games, competing in the Games, representing this country. How did so many Olympic athletes end up working for Home Depot?

Let's ask the guy who hired them, Robert Nardelli. Robert is the chairman and CEO of Home Depot.

Bob, good to have you.

ROBERT NARDELLI, CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, HOME DEPOT: Thank you very much, Neil. It's good to be with you.

CAVUTO: That's pretty amazing. Over 30 employees over there in Italy. How did you do that?

NARDELLI: Well, as you said, we couldn't be more proud of our 33 associates that are competing in the Winter Games. That's up from the last Winter Games, where we had over 20 associates competing.

You know, we started back in 1992, when an associate reached out to us and said, wouldn't it be great if Home Depot would support Olympians in their quest to represent their countries? So, in typical fashion, they reached out, and we supported their efforts. And I'm proud to say that we have over 500 OJOP athletes, associates, have completed to date. That's the Olympic Job Opportunity Program, where an associate will work for us for about 20 hours a week. They will be able to train the other portion of their week, and we think it's an excellent program of giving back and supporting our Olympian athletes.

CAVUTO: I knew you were coming here, Bob, so I don't want to rain on your parade or not snow on it, whatever the expression would be in this case, but there seems to be not a whole lot of interest in these Olympics.

Maybe we just came off the Super Bowl and attentions are elsewhere. But we're even told, for the big stadium event today that has already come and gone — I guess the network is going to show it tonight — that they were giving tickets away. Is it a dead Olympics? What would you call it?

NARDELLI: Well, I sure wouldn't, Neil.

I can tell you that we have 345,000 associates in our company, and they are absolutely laser-focused on the opening event tonight. We will be running, premiering our first spot of our Olympians, where we will actually feature them.

And, again, we couldn't be more proud of this program, in supporting our Olympic athletes. You know, we have won about 11 percent of the U.S. medals in this period. If we were a country, we would rank 16th in overall standings for our competition in the variety of different sports.

CAVUTO: Do they get their practice in, Bob?

NARDELLI: I can tell you, it's center stage.

CAVUTO: I'm just picturing they're practicing, running with two-by- fours, or something like that.


CAVUTO: But what do they get? What are they doing? Because it is uncanny. I mean, you did this the last Olympics. I mean, you guys are winning all these medals. I don't understand it.

NARDELLI: Well, you're exactly right. I mean, the Summer Games, Neil, we won over 40 medals in Athens. So, this is something that's very important to us.

CAVUTO: Do they train on the job? What are they doing on the job that — that gets them ready?

NARDELLI: Well, on the job, Neil, they are performing exactly as our other associates.

The passion and the commitment they have for their sport is what they demonstrate in the aisle with the customer. So, for example, Derek Parra, who will be competing again this year in the Winter Games, won a gold and silver last year, works in our electrical department.

Janet, who will be competing in freestyle slalom, works in our garden department. So, when they're in the store, they...

CAVUTO: She works in the garden department?

NARDELLI: She works in the garden department.

CAVUTO: Now, there's no running going on in the garden department, last time I check. But how is she working it out? No?

NARDELLI: Well, they go through the same training. They go through the same orientation. When they walk into that store, they're like any other associate, committed to taking care of customers.

Again, they bring the passion and the commitment, both from the sport and taking care of our valued customers. Our associates, whether it's in the store or in the market, really get behind this.

Now, of course, during the training period, a lot of them will relocate to Utah. But, then, during the course of the next three years, they will go back to their hometowns.

And, again, because we have over 2,000 stores, they could work in any one of our locations.

CAVUTO: All right.

Well, Bob, you single-handedly now have a company bigger than France. So, you're outdoing France.

But, Bob Nardelli, Home Depot, chairman, president, CEO, thank you, sir. Best of luck.

NARDELLI: Thanks, Neil.

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