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Carrion taps into Carville's election knowledge

IOC presidential candidate Richard Carrion has tapped Democratic political consultant James Carville to assist with his campaign.
Carrion, the CEO of Banco Popular and an IOC member since 1990, turned to Carville for advice on pragmatic aspects of his campaign, not political ones. Carville helped advise Carrion on decisions such as living in Barcelona, closer to the IOC’s European members, during the campaign.
The two were connected by another IOC member.
Carrion’s not the only one who’s turned to outside advisors during this presidential contents. Singapore’s Ser Miang Ng hired consultants familiar with the city bid process to assist in writing his manifesto for what he’d do if elected IOC president. Thomas Bach and Sergey Bubka also have a host of advisors working with them on their candidacy.
The use of consultants and advisors in this presidential campaign is a major departure from what took place during the last election in 2001. That year, candidates were restricted from raising funds, which limited their travel, and they also didn’t write a manifesto or give a speech to the entire membership, as the current group of six candidates have done.
“We never had a chance to do that and that makes a big difference,” said 2001 IOC presidential candidate Anita DeFrantz in an interview earlier this year. “To present yourself and show how you would stand before your colleagues was an important change.”
Consultants have taken on increasing importance across the Olympic movement during the last decade. When the IOC responded to the Salt Lake City bid scandal by creating a lengthy list of technical requirements that bid cities needed to meet, consultants familiar with what the IOC wanted and how to win IOC votes became a critical part of the process. Soon, sports trying to get into the Olympics — like golf and rugby in 2009 and wrestling, softball and baseball now — were hiring them.

“It is a natural progression of the sophistication of the Olympic movement,” said Rob Prazmark, founder of 21 Marketing, a sports agency that consults for Liberty Mutual, Ernst & Young and others on their Olympic sponsorship. “All business and political leaders worldwide have long used outside counsel, and I do not see a problem with it. It is important for the next IOC president to have a full understanding of the issues facing them in the future, and many of the consultants involved have a great understanding of the issues and a long history of being involved.”
Not surprisingly, consultants would like to see presidential candidates have even more latitude in their campaigns in the future. They’d like to see them use social media, which was forbidden this time, and make their speeches to the entire world, not just the IOC membership.
“I’d like to see it be even more open,” one consultant said. “Let people use social media. Let people host events. Why not?”

See: SBJ's IOC presidential vote preview and a breakdown of the candidates.
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