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While "tying up loose ends" at the USOC's headquarters in CO, outgoing CEO Norm Blake said that he is "concerned" that U.S. Olympic athletes "suffer at the hands of self- interested USOC officials and members," according to USA TODAY's Vicki Michaelis. Blake: "What I pray for is the American public can help save our athletes." Michaelis calls the comments "ironic" since the USOC's athlete representatives were "among those who took issue" with Blake's leadership (USA TODAY, 11/3). In a sidebar under the header, "USOC Up In Arms Over Future Of Leadership," Michaelis writes that with Blake gone, "the USOC is in upheaval." Blake hired five senior managers during his nine months, and USOC employees are "wondering" if those mangers will remain. Meanwhile, Michaelis cites an October 10 letter obtained by USA TODAY written by USOC VP and President candidate Sandy Baldwin to outgoing President Bill Hybl, in which she "expressed concerns" over Blake's budget proposals and staff changes. The letter "turned out to be the last straw" for Blake, who said, "I felt it was disrespectful and underhanded" (USA TODAY, 11/3). BLACKMUN THE ANSWER? In Colorado Springs, Ralph Routon calls the naming of Scott Blackmun as Acting CEO a "great move" by the USOC (see THE DAILY, 11/1). Routon: "Don't be surprised if the USOC executive committee removes that 'acting' label before Christmas. Blackmun looks like a perfect fit, fully capable of becoming the organization's most effective and long-lasting CEO since the late F. Don Miller (who retired after 1984)" (CO Springs GAZETTE, 11/3).
Twentieth Century Fox "is making a TV movie" about the SLOC bid scandal, according to Linda Fantin of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. The two-hour film's tentative title is "Let the Games Begin," a reference to the show's air date on FX, just before the Games start in February 2002. Film Producer Bonnie Raskin said that she "isn't out to embarrass" Welch, Salt Lake City or the Games, but to "tell a story of innocence lost and winning at all costs." Raskin: "This is not just a movie where you pick the rock up and see the squirmy stuff underneath." Asked who should play former SLOC CEO Tom Welch in the movie, Raskin said, "We're thinking Brian Dennehy or John Goodman" (S.L. TRIBUNE, 11/3). The film's screenwriters include Christopher Ames and Caroline Shelby, who also wrote "Class Action," a '91 courtroom drama starring Gene Hackman (DESERET NEWS, 11/2).