SBD/March 16, 2011/Olympics

USOC BOD Votes To Adopt New Ethics Guidelines

James Benson will head newly formed Paralympic advisory committee
The USOC BOD yesterday voted to adopt new ethics guidelines and named former John Hancock CEO James Benson Chair of a newly formed Paralympic advisory committee. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the new guidelines streamlined what previously served as the organization's employee code of conduct. Benson was one of five new board members that joined the meeting for the first time yesterday. The others were USA Hockey Exec Dir Dave Ogrean, former Microsoft President of Entertainment Robbie Bach, four-time Olympian Nina Kemppel and former Visa exec Susanne Lyons. They bring the board membership to 15. Blackmun said the new board was quick to contribute to the discussion. Blackmun: "These are talented people and they’re not wallflowers. It increased the level of energy.” Ogrean credited the outspokenness to a recent two-day orientation program new board members took in Colorado Springs. It was the first time new board members had ever undergone orientation. The program explained board procedures and shed light on current topics being discussed by the board. Ogrean added, “It gave them a knowledge base so a lot of things talked about in the meeting today we were not hearing for the first time.” USOC Chair Larry Probst said the organization continues to discuss its revenue-sharing agreement with the IOC and is "encouraged by the tone" of the discussions, but he had no further update on the matter (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

: In Colorado Springs, Brian Gomez reports the USOC “might add another dimension” to $16M in renovations at the Olympic Training Center, with plans for a "‘multimedia experience’ inside the visitors center that wouldn’t cost Colorado Springs taxpayers any more money.” The USOC BOD yesterday discussed “specifics surrounding the endeavor, which would become the second-biggest item behind the USOC’s downtown headquarters building” in a $42.3M commitment by the city of Colorado Springs. Questions remain “unanswered about the financing, the design and the timetable.” USOC officials “envision a larger visitors center ‘focusing on inspiring excellence, telling the stories of the athletes, explaining the history of the Olympic movement and allowing visitors to experience aspects of the sports science behind the work at the OTC.’” In turn, the USOC believes it can “expand the number of visitors and more effectively convey its message to the American public.” Allstate has “offset costs” for the HOF induction ceremony at the visitors center in the past, and Blackmun said landing a sponsor to help the undertaking would “create a more impactful experience,” albeit through “significant resources.” Gomez notes there is also the “chance of the USOC teaming with NBC -- or its new broadcast partner -- for some pieces of the venture, a definite attraction to sponsors and a sure-fire cost-saver” (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 3/16).
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