SBJ/June 25 - July 1, 2001/Olympics

USOC weighs new foundation as fund-raising weapon after Salt Lake

Facing the prospect that corporate sponsor enthusiasm will diminish after Salt Lake 2002, the U.S. Olympic Committee is exploring a fund-raising strategy that would solicit contributions from individuals in exchange for membership status in a new Olympic foundation.

It would differ from the existing U.S. Olympic Foundation, which came into existence after the privately financed 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. That foundation manages and makes grants through an endowment created by the USOC's share of the Los Angeles Games' surplus.

 STAYING IN SOUTH CAROLINA: The USOC's announcement that it is conducting a search (by hiring the firm Korn/Ferry) to fill its $500,000-a-year CEO post has generated modest public speculation about possible candidates.

One name that surfaced is that of University of South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee. But Kerry Tharp, USC associate athletic director of media relations, said McGee told him he is not pursuing the job and plans to remain at South Carolina indefinitely.

Acting USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, meanwhile, is put in the awkward position of functioning as a potentially lame-duck CEO as the international sports community prepares to descend on Salt Lake City in about seven months. One of Blackmun's dilemmas is that he is overqualified for most job opportunities in Colorado Springs, Colo., but likes living there and would prefer to stay.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has its headquarters in Colorado Springs.

  CHARGES REJECTED: The International Olympic Committee issued a firm denial of charges that outgoing IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch diluted evaluations critical of Beijing's campaign to host the 2008 Summer Games. An anonymously circulated letter, raising the prospect that Samaranch intervened to play down concerns about Beijing's readiness to support a 2008 bid, is "a blatant forgery," according to an IOC statement issued from its Swiss headquarters in Lausanne.

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