Blackmun on USOC progress: Not quite to base camp

Q.  Does Angela have a chance at becoming a full-time member when her athlete term ends?

A.  Angela Ruggiero is talented, charismatic, industrious.  She clearly seems to have earned the respect of people in Lausanne (IOC headquarters) too.  They appointed her to chair the coordination commissioner for Lillehammer (2016 Youth Olympic Games) and she is on the coordination commission for Pyeongchang (2018 Winter Olympics.)  I think she has a bright future.

Q.  What are the big U.S.-oriented issues you are dealing with?

A.  The two things I am focusing my individual time on are the bid for 2024 and our fundraising.  As we look at our revenue streams, we think our greatest opportunity is philanthropic revenues.  We are in the final stages of our search for a chief development officer.

Q.  Realistically, by 2020, how much could this kind of fund-raising generate?

A.  We would like to be at $50 million a year.  I would guess that 100 colleges raise that much money.  That would be more than triple our current level of fundraising, and I think that is achievable.

Q.  But colleges have a built in constituency of alums.

A.  They have a built-in advantage.  That’s right.

Q.  Overall, how would you assess your first 3 ½ years on the job?

A.  I’m really pleased, mostly because our teams did so well in Vancouver (2010 Winter) and London (2012 Summer.)  That is the first, second and third priorities for us.

We have also had pretty good success on revenue generation.  We have been able to bury the hatchet with the IOC and have constructive dialogue with them now.  I think we have had good success in that area but there is so much left to do in order to get the Games back in the United States and to generate the level of philanthropic support that our athletes need.

If we were climbing a mountain, we are not quite to base camp yet.