Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) officials head to Olympic meetings this week in Lausanne, Switzerland, "with momentum on their side," according to Mike Gorrell of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. SLOC will "be able to boast" of progress on "several fronts" important to the 2002 Winter Games when their turn comes to deliver reports to the IOC's executive board. "First and foremost," the SLOC has the "framework of a joint marketing agreement" with the USOC. SLOC leaders will also inform the IOC of their hopes of "expediting" the development of a downhill-race course at Snowbasin and SLOC learned the '99 Figure Skating Championships will be held at the Delta Center, "providing a good test event." Gorrell notes because the Salt Lake Games are "still so far down the road," the state of SLOC's preparations are not as important as those of Nagano or Sydney (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 10/6). MORE FROM LAUSANNE: Philip Hersh notes that according to his sources, the USOC will ask for an increase in the share, now 10%, it receives from the Olympic rights fees paid by U.S. TV (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/3).
For the first time, the election of the USOC president will be contested, according to Mike Dodd of USA TODAY. The presidential race marks the "most bitter public split in the organization's history and spotlights the lingering cloud over the nomination process." The candidates include Bill Hybl, an interim president in '91-92 and the nominee of the USOC nominating committee, and Michael Lenard, a USOC VP and the first to run against the nominating committee's candidate for president. Hybl "welcomes" the competition, noting, "I think it moves the USOC to a new plateau of being inclusive and more democratic, rather than have a slate everyone votes for." The controversy of Hybl's nomination stems from grants his El Pomar Foundation offered two members of the nominating committee (USA TODAY, 10/8). The vote is October 27 in Indianapolis, and according to Mike Spence in Colorado, "some USOC observers are predicting a complete repudiation of the organization's nominating process" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE TELEGRAPH, 10/6).