(ATR) The U.S. Olympic Committee and its leadership returns to a position of worldwide influence.
Chairman and IOC member Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun share the number 8 spot in the 2018 edition of the Around the Rings Golden 25. Published since 1997, the Golden 25 is an annual review of people, events and issues expected to influence the Olympic Movement in the year ahead.
After years of declining influence, evidenced by failed Olympic bids and other missteps, the USOC is back. The heaps of praise piled upon Los Angeles, chosen by IOC acclamation as the 2028 host city is proof of that.
While the LA team carried the weight of the bid, the USOC was a partner and not an adversary, creating a formula for success that eluded bids from Chicago and New York.
The ability of the U.S. to play host to the Winter Olympics while other nations balk is another reason for the IOC to play nice with the USOC.
Earlier in December when the White House inserted some uncertainty over whether a team from the U.S. would compete in Korea and the Olympics and Paralympics, the phones at the USOC started ringing. NOC leaders around the world were seeking assurance from Blackmun and Probst that the U.S. wasn’t going to abandon the 2018 Games.
Probst, 67, heading into his 10th year as chair of the USOC, has risen from a novitiate in the Olympic Movement to a trusted counsel for IOC President Thomas Bach. An IOC member since 2013, Probst is among those members urging the IOC forward on ethics issues and the Russian doping saga.
His current formal IOC assignment is chair of the commission on the Olympic Channel. Plugged into Silicon Valley, Probst is chairman of EA, the electronic games maker.
Blackmun, CEO since 2010, is the day-to-day chief of the USOC, directing the NOC to record-setting medal performances at Summer and Winter Olympics. By profession, he’s a lawyer.
He directed the USOC involvement in the LA Olympic bid and will be a major force as the organizing committee takes shape. In the coming year Blackmun will work with LA 28 on the marketing plan for the Games.
Blackmun will be the major influencer for the U.S. as the reorganized Panam Sports comes to life. Blackmun was elected to serve as a member of the Executive Council of the association representing the 41 NOCs of the Americas.
In the wake of the scandal over sexual assault in USA Gymnastics, Blackmun and the USOC face questions of accountability that crtics are raising. The USOC has stated its commitment to bringing safety to all Olympic sports. How that becomes reality will make the USOC a bellwether for NOCs and sports organizations around the world.
2017 ranking: not ranked
Reported by Ed Hula.