Top USOC Officials Handed Roles in Key IOC Commissions

March 14, 2011

It was announced last Friday, March 11, that Larry Probst and Scott Blackmun of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have been appointed to key Commissions the International Olympic Committee (IOC), suggesting further signs of a developing relationship between the two bodies.

Probst, the chairman of the USOC, has been given a role with the IOC’s International Relations Commission while Blackmun, the chief executive, has been included on the IOC Marketing Commission.

The relationship was believed to have been damaged by a series of rows over financial disputes, plans to launch a US Olympic television network and Chicago’s humiliating failure to be awarded the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Since then Probst and Blackmun have spearheaded the campaign to repair the fractured ties.

Blackmun stated: “We are grateful that the IOC has selected us to serve alongside so many important leaders of the Olympic Movement.”

Blackmun’s presence on the Marketing Commission is seen as being of particular significant in light of the long-running financial disputes between the USOC and IOC.

The row over the fact that the USOC continue to receive 20 per cent of the Olympics global sponsorship revenue and 13 per cent of US broadcasting rights has been an open sore in the Olympic Movement for several years and in 2009 contributed to Chicago being knocked out in the first round of voting for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, despite the presence of US President Barack Obama.

The Marketing Commission contains prominent IOC members seen as the leading contenders to replace Jacques Rogge as President when he steps down in 2013, including Germany’s Thomas Bach and Puerto Rico’s Richard Carrion. 

Other members includes Britain’s Sir Craig Reedie, Patrick Hickey, the President of the European Olympic Committees, and Dick Pound, the former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency.