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Best OCOG Presidents


mattygs

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Following on from the discussion re: Seb Coe and his job (so far) as the fearless leader of LOCOG and his suitability as rising up the IOC ranks, I wonder if it might be appropriate to look back at the various people who have lead the efforts of hosting an Olympic Games - the presidents of the OCOGS.

Granted, some have made themselves more well known than others.

A few of the more well noted Presidents

- Peter Uberroth : the leader of the LA84 Games was possibly the first to gain international attention as an OCOG President, and of course, credited by many as a key player in the future financial model success of the Olympic Games

- Gerhard Heiberg: IOC darling of the Lillehammer Games who is the exception when it comes to OCOG presidents to have moved into the IOC

- Billy Payne : the polarising character who headed up Atlanta's ACOG

- Gianna Angelopolous Daskalaki & Mitt Romney: I put these two together as they were I guess the saviours of two OCOGS facing some pretty rough waters at the time

- John Furlong: apparantly a driven yet very low key (at least in appearance) head of VANOC

- Sandy Hollway and Michael Knight: the two main men in delivering the Sydney Games, though no blood lost between these two. Seems to be Sandy was never given as much credit as he was deserved?

In any case, those are just a few names that come to mind. Other have come and gone, a few seem to have gotten on with the job without causing too much fuss (at least in the context of the job).

Be interested as to peoples opinions on who have performed the best out of presidents of the OCOGS.

As a side note, who was the infamous being who held the chiefship of the ATHOC before the IOC nudged him out and asked for Gianna to come back?

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There's a saying in baseball... the best umpire is the one whose name you've never heard. I wonder if that's true for organizing presidents.

Vancouver was only last year; I was there; I read a ton about the games before and after... and I couldn't have told you John Furlong's name for all the money in the world. Heck, this may be only the second or third time I ever remember seeing it.

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Ah, here is a rather original and interesting conversation.

To add to the list...

Frank King headed up OCO'88 - the Calgary OCOG.

Roger Rousseau led COJO, the 1976 Montreal OCOG.

Pasqual Maragall led the 1992 Barcelona Games. He was also the city's mayor.

I think Uberroth, Daskalaki and Romney had the most challenging roles, having to pull Games out of the fire under difficult circumstances. And they are the biggest names because of that and their other endeavours. Furlong was a sound manager - not terribly exciting and his challenges weren't as overwhelming as some in the past. But he is rare in that he stayed from bid to closing.

I think I have to give Uberroth, though, the title. He was a star OCOG leader and created a new formula for organizing and financing the Games. And both his personal legacy and the legacy of the Games resounds even to this day.

Interesting observation, zekekelso. Furlong's name was well know in Vancouver (and likely throughout Canada) in the build up to the Games. He was almost always the voice and face of VANOC as nearly every press release from the organization included a quote from him. Standard PR stuff, I know, but they really tied his name to VANOC and the 2010 Games - conferences, speaking engagements, interviews. So while maybe those outside the Olympic city (or Olympic nation) didn't know much about him, those of us here certainly did.

Heck, he even stood the same line as me in a grocery store once. LOL!

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We should have made this into a poll.

Hands down for me is Peter Uberroth. I don't think you can do much better than help save the modern Olympic movement.

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It is exceedingly rare for a president to become a member of the IOC. Only once since at least 80. Coe won't become a member either.

I dunno. I think they'll find a place for him. He's got something most have not had - an Olympic, political and sports admin pedigree. Almost too much talent and experience to waste.

It's rare, really, as someone else mentioned, for any of them to become known names outside the ranks of the host cities themselves, or enthusiasts and followers such as ourselves. I'd say the only four to have much of a profile outside followers' ranks are Ueberroth, Romney, Angelopoulos and Coe - perhaps Payne at a pinch (what's he been doing since 96 anyway?).

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Not sure if this has been discussed but why has Uberroth not been invited to join the IOC?

1. Mainly because the powers & movers in there would have been scared of someone who TURNED their movement around. He was too big a bull in their china shop.

2. He was blunt and he had no hesitation in telling IOC members who needed to wear a smaller hat size.

3. Most weakly, he did NOT have a sports background which they "sort of reserve" for the invitees.

Re Billy Payne, Rols, I think he is back to being a real estate attorney but also w/ all his other newly-found Board positions. He took it easy after Atlanta '96 because he had a bypass months before the Games went on.

Two we forget are: Alexander Cushing, who did a Billy Payne BEFORE Billy Payne, bringing the 1960 WOGs to Squaw Valley single-handedly; and Jean Claude Killy, altho I think he was co-chair with that other tall fellow.

Of all of them, my candidate is Alexander Cushing because he was THERE from the start, selling his vision (w/ just 2 other lieutenants) to the IOC, and then seeing it through. I was also thinking the other day that my God, the $76 million+ that Chicago spent on its bid, was NEARLY the same TOTAL operating budget (I think it was $85 mil) of the SVOOC. How things Olympic have just snowballed into the realm of the insane.

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Gianna Angelopolous Daskalaki

Big mark vs. Gianna...she personally chose that 2nd rate D. Papaioannou over Vangelis! From what I can tell of their personalities from a distance, Vangelis was older than and equally formidable as her; had more of an international name so there could've only have been room for one queen bee in the harem; whereas Dmitris was a younger fellow and I think she put him through a test whereby she could easily manipulate him.

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I would like to add Willi Daume, the head of the Munich 1972 organising committee. I think that even if the security concept for the Games was obviously insufficient, Daume and the rest of the organising committee did a splendid job in all other aspects. They made Germany shine as a warm, enthusiastic and friendly host at a time when the international reputation of Germany was still affected quite strongly by the events during the Third Reich. And they also mastered the difficult task to keep the Games together after the terrorist attack.

But I agree that probably Peter Ueberroth had the most important impact, since he actually rescued the Olympic Games of the modern era.

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...But I agree that probably Peter Ueberroth had the most important impact, since he actually rescued the Olympic Games of the modern era.

Absolutly! The Olympic movement was finished when LA stood up...Even with the retaliatory Boycott actions of the USSR and Eastern Bloc Clones...LA was phenominally sucessfull, and lit the pathway for the Olympics since.

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It's Ueberroth by a country mile over everyone else. The man basically saved the modern Olympics and taught the IOC an important lesson - how to get the Olympics to make money. The Games and the IOC have never been the same.

As for Gianna Angelopolous Daskalaki... please tell me you are joking. The Games BARELY got off the ground, the attendance was abysmal and Greece is in the biggest financial pickle I've ever seen. The biggest symbol of the Games for me came at the Closing Ceremonies where she's happily clapping along to the music in the box and you cut to a wide shot and you see most of the VIPs AND the athletes had already made for the exits. She delivered the Games, but that's all. Everything else was a God-awful mess.

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Billy Payne is tops on my list. The evangelical zeal with which he pursued his idea and then in the process of bringing it to fruition is an inspiration for me in everything I do. Also, back in the early 1990s I wrote letters to Payne, Heiberg, and the head of Nagano's OC (whose name escapes me right now) asking how to go about bidding for an Olympic Games. Heiberg sent back a "sorry, I can't help you" letter. The guy from Nagano never did reply, but Payne sent a nice personalized letter detailing his own journey toward Atlanta's attainment of the 1996 Games.

I liked Mitt too. I hope his presidential campaign turns out a lot better than last time.

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Coe won't become an IOC member for one very simple reason. The IOC only allows 2 permanent members from any NOC. Britain right now has the Princess Royal (19 years away from forced retirement) and Craig Reedie (9 years away from forced retirement). Coe is 56. By the time a position opens up he will be 65. In 9 years, another athletic royal will be in prime position to be a member of the IOC. And it will take a few years for the IOC to replace an IOC member from an NOC. So we are look at Coe becoming one in his late 60's or early 70's. I am sure the BOA would be able to find another alternative.

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Coe won't become an IOC member for one very simple reason. The IOC only allows 2 permanent members from any NOC. Britain right now has the Princess Royal (19 years away from forced retirement) and Craig Reedie (9 years away from forced retirement). Coe is 56. By the time a position opens up he will be 65. In 9 years, another athletic royal will be in prime position to be a member of the IOC. And it will take a few years for the IOC to replace an IOC member from an NOC. So we are look at Coe becoming one in his late 60's or early 70's. I am sure the BOA would be able to find another alternative.

Though, according to the charter, that doesn't apply to anyone elected to the IOC before 1999 (which would take care of Anne). Also, I'm not sure if it was since rescinded, but Samaranch also was given discretionary power to nominate anyone, outside the ordinary channels, he thought should be a member.

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I wrote letters to Payne, Heiberg, and the head of Nagano's OC (whose name escapes me right now) asking how to go about bidding for an Olympic Games. Heiberg sent back a "sorry, I can't help you" letter. The guy from Nagano never did reply, but Payne sent a nice personalized letter detailing his own journey toward Atlanta's attainment of the 1996 Games.

NAOK's president was Eishiro Saito,

Makoto Kobayashi was the Director General

^oops I meant NAOC (Nagano Organizing Committe) ;)

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NAOK's president was Eishiro Saito,

Makoto Kobayashi was the Director General

^oops I meant NAOC (Nagano Organizing Committe) ;)

Yes, Saito. If CBS had actually shown his speech during the OC I probably would have never forgotten his name.

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