After two weeks out of the country, in a place where it was easier to escape because Internet access was (delightfully) spotty, it’s time to weigh in about a couple things that happened during the time away.
For the first, about figure skating, click here.
It looks as if U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst may stepped on the third rail when Probst told Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Journal he would favor having the International Olympic Committee’s 15-person executive committee rather than its 106 members choose Olympic host cities.
Probst, an IOC member since last September, knew he could get burned, immediately adding to Mickle, “I probably will get in trouble for saying this.”
The USOC chairman soon skinned back, saying it “might not be such a terrible idea to have the executive board get it down to a few cities.” That qualification gutted Probst's suggestion, because the selection process already is done that way.
Too bad, because Probst’s idea made sense for a couple reasons:
1. It would mean bid cities have to lobby (bribe?) only 15 people instead of 106, saving a lot of time, money and effort.
2. It would render several dozen IOC members officially irrelevant, a status they have unofficially held for years, since the only thing many do is freeload and vote for host cities. Getting rid of them entirely and leaving IOC governance completely to the executive board would save the IOC from paying for their grand luxe travel and accommodations at the Olympics and the IOC’s annual meeting.
A seriously shrunken IOC would mirror the model the USOC adopted 10 years ago, after decades of inefficient and/or inept management and bureaucratic infighting. The USOC, in turn, has insisted individual national sports federations adopt a similar structure. It works better.
Unsurprisingly, some of the international publications that focus on Olympic machinations have opined that Probst hurt the chances for a 2024 U.S. Summer Games bid at the very moment it was revealed the USOC has limited the cities under consideration as a U.S. candidate to Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
And it probably will have some negative effect, given the way many of the IOC’s self-appointed members behave as petty potentates with blind prejudices.
Meanwhile, interest in hosting the Winter Olympics has diminished to the point the IOC may be left to choose as 2022 host the lesser of two bad bids in the Despots R’ Us category: Beijing, which proposes skiing venues that might as well be in another country, and Almaty, capital of Kazakhstan, a world leader in corruption.
The reason? Cost, despite Russia’s claim last week to have made a $261 million organizing profit on the Sochi Games.
That discounts the $51 billion in Sochi area infrastructure costs, with lasting benefits that look dubious.
And overlooks the billions made in profiteering by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oligarch buddies, for whom the lasting benefits were even fatter wallets.Copyright © 2015, RedEye