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stir.ts

Usoc, How Responsible Are They?

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Stir, can u reprint the article here? My server isn't picking up the NYT's.

After Chicago’s Loss, Critics Assail the U.S.O.C. :angry:

For weeks, the <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_states_olympic_committee/index.html?inline=nyt-org" title="More articles about United States Olympic Committee">United States Olympic Committee and the national sports governing bodies it oversees had settled into an uncomfortable truce. Despite a year of upheaval and conflict, the parties had agreed to set aside their differences in solidarity for Chicago’s bid to win the 2016 Summer Games.

The truce ended as quickly as Chicago was dispatched from the race won by Rio de Janeiro. In surprisingly frank terms, a number of influential people in American Olympic sports questioned the performance of the U.S.O.C.’s new management team and said its two top executives were ill-equipped to navigate the insular world of international sports.

Chicago’s last-place finish in the I.O.C. voting on Friday in Copenhagen was the latest blow in a year marked by the departure of major sponsors, layoffs at U.S.O.C. headquarters, controversy over the salary of the acting chief executive, and the failed plan for an Olympic television network.

“Before we think about putting forth another Olympic city for a Games possibility, we’ve got to deal with some outstanding issues that are not going to go away,” said Mike Plant, who serves on the U.S.O.C.’s 10-member board and traveled to Copenhagen as part of the Chicago delegation. “I think that certainly there will be some dialogue that’s going to take place in the next couple of weeks — or certainly in short order.”

Asked what should happen next to return the U.S.O.C. to prominence in international circles, James Ravannack, the president of USA Wrestling, said: “Resignations. It’s an absolute embarrassment. I don’t know what else to tell you. Where is the leadership?”

Patrick G. Ryan, the bid leader for Chicago, said his staff’s relationship with the U.S.O.C. could not have been better. He said regional bloc voting, not the U.S.O.C., caused the bid’s downfall.

“I think people look for an excuse when something happens,” he said. “They look to finger-point, and now the finger-pointing is at the U.S.O.C. It’s a simple thing to do the day after. You go find someone to blame.”

Since the end of the Beijing Olympics, most of the top positions at the U.S.O.C. have changed hands. Last October, Larry Probst, the chairman of the video-game publisher Electronic Arts, replaced Peter Ueberroth as the committee’s chairman. In March, Probst and the board removed the chief executive, Jim Scherr, and appointed a board member, Stephanie A. Streeter, in his place. The executives in charge of sport performance, marketing and human resources were also replaced.

The turnover angered many leaders of the national governing bodies of Olympic sports, who chafed at the corporate backgrounds of Probst and Streeter and their lack of Olympic experience. The relationship further soured when it was revealed that the board had approved an annual salary of $560,000 for Streeter — a 30 percent increase over Scherr’s — months after 54 employees were laid off.

Probst has said the board will begin a search this month to replace Streeter, whose term as acting chief executive runs through next year’s Paralympics. She has not said whether she will apply for the permanent position.

Probst and Streeter, who were in Copenhagen, were contacted through their representatives, but did not return calls.

Skip Gilbert, the chairman of the Association of Chief Executives for Sport, which includes 45 Olympic sport bodies in the United States, said his members had been waiting for the vote on Chicago before voicing concern over the U.S.O.C.’s management and structure.

“Now’s the time that we’re going to build some consensus as to what do we think is the next move in order to right the ship,” Gilbert said. One item high on the agenda, he said, is whether to recommend a change in leadership.

Several leaders in Olympic sports praised the Chicago bid as the best that an American city had put forward in decades. But Chicago’s elimination in the first round exposed the U.S.O.C.’s lack of influence. Steve Penny, the president of USA Gymnastics, likened the Games to a crown jewel.

“You’ve got to know that the people you’re going to be giving your crown jewels to are the most trustworthy partners that you could ever ask for,” he said. “And unfortunately, when you don’t have stability in your leadership, how can you build trust?”

Some wondered whether Probst and Streeter hurt Chicago’s chances when they failed to show up to a meeting of I.O.C. members in Lausanne, Switzerland, where host cities were invited to make presentations.

“You look back at it and think that it might have been a better decision for them to go,” said James Easton, an I.O.C. member who is on the U.S.O.C. board.

But members of the U.S.O.C.’s international relations division have flown more than a million miles on outreach missions to the I.O.C. on behalf of the Chicago bid, a U.S.O.C. spokeswoman said.

Denis Oswald, a Swiss I.O.C. member and frequent U.S.O.C. critic, said he and his colleagues took note of the tumult in American Olympic circles. “We had been dealing with some people, and suddenly we heard one has disappeared and one was nearly fired, and you had to start with totally new people,” Oswald said.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports, which invested billions of dollars for the North American media rights to the Winter and Summer Games, said that beyond personal relationships, other unresolved problems probably played a role in Chicago’s loss. Many I.O.C. members feel the United States receives an inordinate share of revenue. The United States receives 20 percent of global sponsorship money and 12.75 percent of the TV money, an arrangement that will be renegotiated in 2013.

“Any U.S. bid city will be in a difficult place until the U.S.O.C. works out a new relationship with the I.O.C. in terms of the revenue cut the U.S. gets,” he said.

Others questioned the U.S.O.C.’s timing with its announcement in July that it intended to create an Olympic television network. The I.O.C. quickly repudiated the move, saying the United States had acted prematurely. Probst and Streeter later delayed plans for the network.

“It was really bad timing to bring it up,” said Bill Martin, the University of Michigan athletic director and former acting president of the U.S.O.C. “No question about it. You just don’t do it prior to a vote of this nature.”

Suggesting possible chief executives for the organization, Ebersol did not name Streeter. He recommended Dennis Swanson, the president of station operations at Fox Television Stations, and Harvey Schiller, a former U.S.O.C. chief executive now with the World Baseball Federation.

“They need a dynamic person who truly loves sports and knows how to operate,” Ebersol said. “Someone has to reach out to a major figure familiar to the Olympic world, so you go in with strength.”

Anita DeFrantz, a member of the I.O.C. who also serves on the U.S.O.C. board, said it would be foolish to make leadership decisions based on the whims of her international colleagues.

“What the people within the I.O.C. were calling for was people that they knew,” she said. “It didn’t matter what their backgrounds were.”

Some American leaders were more measured in their assessment of the performance of Streeter and Probst. Easton, an American I.O.C. member, said he hopes Streeter stays.

“I hope people give her some time to know the system,” he said of Streeter, the former chief executive of the Banta Corporation, a printing and supply company. “She’s a very intelligent and talented woman who is very accomplished in business.”

Doug Logan, the chief executive of USA Track and Field, said it was disrespectful to suggest resignations. Still, he acknowledged that the U.S.O.C. was going through a difficult period. The U.S.O.C. has lost several major sponsors because of the recession, although it has attracted new ones.

Without Chicago as a host city, signing sponsors will be more difficult, Logan said. “Now they’ve got to go it alone,” he said.

DeFrantz said criticism of the U.S.O.C. missed the larger point: that Rio de Janeiro was destined to win. “It was all about going to a different part of the world,” she said. “Had Chicago won, everyone would be celebrating the wisdom of what we had done.”

Juliet Macur reported from Copenhagen, and Katie Thomas and Richard Sandomir from New York.

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well, Probst was Ueberroth's personal choice. (I applied to be an assistant for Probst; but he just kept his old staff at Electronic Arts.) I really couldn't read him based on his bit at the Chicago presentation.

I've seen Streeter briefly up close. I think she's OK and brings kinda a youngish feminine presence to what I think is a heavily male leadership.

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The blame game was always going to happen

There's a difference between blame for the sake of blame and trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Had Chicago lost in a closer vote, the issue would be less pressing. We could say, "It was Rio's time" (which it was) and leave it at that. By sending Chicago out in the first round, however, the IOC sent a strong message. Ryan is saying that it was bloc voting and said nothing about the IOC's attitude towards American bids. I think this is simplistic. The only reason the bloc voting was possible is the broken relationship between the USOC and IOC.

Chicago suffered the worst case scenario. It's worth some analysis.

Star-power wasn't the problem.

Government support wasn't the problem.

The technical merits of the bid weren't the problem.

WHAT WAS MISSING:

Clear, concise articulation of a meaningful legacy. (Obama was the only one to do this. This is a failing of Chicago 2016.)

Healthy relationships with the IOC. (This is a failing of the USOC.)

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PLUS, if you get the #1 slot, DROP OUT IMMEDIATELY! Opener is the kiss of death.

That moves #2 up to the opening position and give them the kiss of death!!

(When Chicago got picked to be #1 in the order of things...I kinda had a BAD feeling. But I thought the lessons learned from 2012 would overcome the unlucky first spot. So it only proves that going in as #1 is certain defeat.)

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And the "No Games Chicago"? I think they facilitated the victory of Rio.

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And the "No Games Chicago"? I think they facilitated the victory of Rio.

Totally disagree. I don't think No Games made much impact at all. Every bid has its detractors.

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In an interview, Bob Ctvrtlik (USOC vice president of international relations and former IOC member), acknowleged that the primary short-fall in the bid was the relationship between the USOC and IOC. Hopefully he can work with them to build bridges and restructure the organization in a more stable fashion.

I was not impressed with Larry Probst during the final presentation. He didn't really say much, and it came out kind of bland.

I wonder what Jim Scherr is thinking right now...

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And the "No Games Chicago"? I think they facilitated the victory of Rio.

Do you think similar groups in Madrid and Tokyo also did this? I for one totally disagree, as others have stated, every bid city has NIMBY's for Olympic bids.

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I wouldn't give much credit to No Games Chicago. Just look at the number of their protesters at the City Hall compared to the 10,000+ supporters that turned out at Daley Plaza...

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I was not impressed with Larry Probst during the final presentation. He didn't really say much, and it came out kind of bland.

While watching Chicago's presentation, I said out loud "Larry Probst has the charisma of a cinder block." I hope he's a better administrator than he is a public speaker. I was not impressed at all.

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No Games Chicago didn't influenced any member. But they are one more excuse for those who had reasons to not vote in the USA bid...

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No Games Chicago didn't influenced any member. But they are one more excuse for those who had reasons to not vote in the USA bid...

I don't think they were a factor at all. It's NOT like this is the first time the IOC'ers have encountered this type of thing.

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Well, well, what do we have here.

The IOC's vote to award Rio the right to stage the 2016 Olympic games should send a huge message to those bidding cities who rely on arrogance and greed to push themselves into the spotlight. Madrid was a pleasant surprise, Tokyo was an awful surprise, Rio (YAY!) conformed to expectations, and most certainly did Chicago.

Over and over and over again, since the bidding for these games began, the variables were clearly presented on the forums of Gamesbids as to why Chicago was not going to host the 2016 Olympic Games. For those who were not familiar with the stated factors, here they are:

The Fatigue Variable :- The IOC's International Representatives and the entire WORLD I might add, were exhausted to see the games return to the US over and over and over and over again. In the end, like it or not, monotony grows distasteful!

The Global Financial Crisis Variable:- The fact remains that The US is responsible, to a staggeringly significant degree, for the current global economic crisis. Additionally, the "greed" behind Chicago's bid to have the US host the games again most certainly did not set the correct tone to those who were intimately involved in the selection/voting process.

The US Doping Variable:- The undeniable fact remains that everyone is aware of the complete disregard for the ideals of clean participation in sport over the last decade by U.S athletes. Most notably, those in Track and Field. The IOC had to insist that a strong message be sent.

The Salt Lake City Scandal Variable:- which tarnished the Chicago bid and again, was a grotesque compromise of the ideals of the IOC formal bidding process.

The Arrogance Variable:- which was heightened by the over-reliance on the US President Barak Obama. Chicago made the fatal error of using Presedent Obama to gloss over the obvious fissures in their Bid proposal to the IOC, hoping that his universally respected charm and elegance would persuade the voting delegates to hand the games to the US. It was, in every regard, an insulting move against every IOC delegate, and the intelligence each possesses.

The GamesBids Variable:- Believe it or not, every member on Gamesbids in not JUST a fan. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, when it all comes down to the pith of the whole situation, some members of Gamesbids hold the power in their hands and minds.

I would like, most graciously at this time to thank Rio for an exceptionally stunning bid and to formally congratulate them on bringing the games to South America for the first time. I would also at this time want to suggest that this victory is perhaps the loudest, most unmistakable indirect message to the Canadian City of Toronto to commence working towards an Olympic future. Be assertive not arrogant, be meticulous not dismissive, be determined and your efforts shall not fail. This should most ceratinly apply to Toronto in its bid to stage the 2015 Pan American Games. Scutinize carefully who you choose, if you so choose, to lead your bid. See you in

Vancouver 2010

London 2012

and

Rio 2016!!!!!!!!!!

--------------------

Rule, and rule well.

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Well, well, what do we have here.

The IOC's vote to award Rio the right to stage the 2016 Olympic games should send a huge message to those bidding cities who rely on arrogance and greed to push themselves into the spotlight. Madrid was a pleasant surprise, Tokyo was an awful surprise, Rio (YAY!) conformed to expectations, and most certainly did Chicago.

Over and over and over again, since the bidding for these games began, the variables were clearly presented on the forums of Gamesbids as to why Chicago was not going to host the 2016 Olympic Games. For those who were not familiar with the stated factors, here they are:

The Fatigue Variable :- The IOC's International Representatives and the entire WORLD I might add, were exhausted to see the games return to the US over and over and over and over again. In the end, like it or not, monotony grows distasteful!

The Global Financial Crisis Variable:- The fact remains that The US is responsible, to a staggeringly significant degree, for the current global economic crisis. Additionally, the "greed" behind Chicago's bid to have the US host the games again most certainly did not set the correct tone to those who were intimately involved in the selection/voting process.

The US Doping Variable:- The undeniable fact remains that everyone is aware of the complete disregard for the ideals of clean participation in sport over the last decade by U.S athletes. Most notably, those in Track and Field. The IOC had to insist that a strong message be sent.

The Salt Lake City Scandal Variable:- which tarnished the Chicago bid and again, was a grotesque compromise of the ideals of the IOC formal bidding process.

The Arrogance Variable:- which was heightened by the over-reliance on the US President Barak Obama. Chicago made the fatal error of using Presedent Obama to gloss over the obvious fissures in their Bid proposal to the IOC, hoping that his universally respected charm and elegance would persuade the voting delegates to hand the games to the US. It was, in every regard, an insulting move against every IOC delegate, and the intelligence each possesses.

The GamesBids Variable:- Believe it or not, every member on Gamesbids in not JUST a fan. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, when it all comes down to the pith of the whole situation, some members of Gamesbids hold the power in their hands and minds.

I would like, most graciously at this time to thank Rio for an exceptionally stunning bid and to formally congratulate them on bringing the games to South America for the first time. I would also at this time want to suggest that this victory is perhaps the loudest, most unmistakable indirect message to the Canadian City of Toronto to commence working towards an Olympic future. Be assertive not arrogant, be meticulous not dismissive, be determined and your efforts shall not fail. This should most ceratinly apply to Toronto in its bid to stage the 2015 Pan American Games. Scutinize carefully who you choose, if you so choose, to lead your bid. See you in

Vancouver 2010

London 2012

and

Rio 2016!!!!!!!!!!

--------------------

Rule, and rule well.

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I'm so sick of this spamming...

But I'll respond in kind....

Ruling Czar offered an incredibly simplistic, one-sided response. If you take his opinions at face value, Chicago had nothing going for it at all.

Obviously there's an issue with the U.S. hosting 8 times in comparison to South America's goose egg.

Obviously there are major issues between the USOC and the IOC.

As for the Salt Lake City scandal -- I'm sorry but bribery doesn't work without TWO parties. Everybody blew it. Everybody's moving on. Salt Lake got caught -- who knows how many bids got away with it?

Doping? There are cheats from all over the world. They are getting caught and nobody in the U.S. is sanctioning their activities -- we're sending them to prison (not for cheating, but for lying ... still.)

"Obvious fissures in the bid?" Did we read the same bid book? The bid was superb. The funding was there. The organization and forethought was there. The bid was not the problem.

Arrogance? Definitely some, but that is improving and will continue to do so. I also think there's also just a lot of ignorance on the part of the USOC about how Americans are perceived and how the process works. Obama showing up was a sign of humility, deference and respect. It was not arrogance. He came to Copenhagen knowing Rio had a good shot. I don't think he or anyone else expected a slam dunk for Chicago -- of course, they didn't expect to be eliminated with only 18 votes either...

As for the financial crisis -- yes, the U.S. was the biggest player, but we didn't do it all by ourselves. Also, isn't it interesting how the U.S. doesn't get any credit when the global economy is doing well? They only get blamed when it struggles. The truth is, whether anybody wants to admit it or not, there is a certain amount of jealousy of the United States. Granted, the U.S. has made matters worse with unilateral foreign policy, but there will always be some resentment of the top dog. It's just the way it goes.

Regarding GamesBids -- do you really think we swayed the outcome? Talk about arrogance. Maybe a few IOC types glance at the site periodically, but they have more information than we do and are perfectly capable of making up their own minds. It's nice to think that our idle Olympic chatter actually has an impact on something, but I suspect it is pure fantasy.

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It is most unfortunate that you should seek to do such an unethical thing Baron.....then again, with your feralistic heritage, it becomes you. I shall decree that you be redeemed from such an unfortunate reality.

your serene majesty

czar

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