At 51, Ruffolo is old enough to have spent his formative years steeped in anti-communism. He grew up in Woodland Hills in a family of John Birch Society conservatives, and by his own admission was none too fond of foreigners or minorities.
“I was a real bigot when it came to China. I had a lot of prejudices that I had to leave behind when I came to this place,” he said over lunch in the basement cafeteria of the media center next to the Olympic Green. “I had to learn that they have their way and their political philosophy. I respect that.”
Today Ruffolo has only the highest praise for the Chinese, but then again, he is paid to say nice things. Ruffolo is the only foreigner handling media at the headquarters of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games.