USOC's Probst, Blackmun Say IOC Must Be More Aggressive On Corruption, Doping
USOC Chair Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun on Thursday demanded the IOC move aggressively against corrupt members and doping athletes. Probst led off back-to-back speeches to the group’s annual assembly by calling for a house-cleaning of dirty IOC members. "It is not our job to enrich ourselves, financially or through illicit power-grabs,” Probst said. "The fact is, some have clearly acted in ways that are antithetical to the ideals we seek to advance, and it has been tolerated for too long. To be sure, a global movement requires diplomacy and due process. But it also demands an aggressive and timely response to unacceptable behavior." Probst praised the IOC’s decision one week ago to suspend Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Nuzman after his arrest on bribery and vote-buying charges relating to Rio’s winning bid for the '16 Games. Probst said corruption would be a key point in his ongoing talks with IOC President Thomas Bach. "All forms of corruption, vote buying and influence peddling must be eliminated,” he said. "It is time for the Olympic movement to rid itself of the bad actors, and to demonstrate that a zero- tolerance policy is more than just rhetoric."
JUSTICE DELAYED: Blackmun said it is “beyond frustrating” that no action has been taken as a result of the McLaren Report, which determined in July '16 that Russian sports officials operated an extensive illicit doping operation at the '14 Sochi Games. “We are about to head into a new winter season where Olympic team spots will be won and lost, and not a single Games-bound athlete has been disqualified for PyeongChang based upon the McLaren Report, nor has a single Sochi medal been forfeited,” Blackmun said. He said he believes the IOC is pursuing the scandal “in earnest and in good faith." Blackmun: "But at some point, justice delayed is justice denied, and we are fast approaching that point. The time for action is now. Our athletes have led the way and it’s time for their leaders, those of us in this room and similar ones around the world, to act and to do so while it still makes a difference." The IOC has said it will hear two separate investigations into the McLaren allegations before the '18 PyeongChang Games, but those decisions could come with just weeks before the Games begin. After his speech, Blackmun said athletes have implored the USOC to take a hard line on doping. The remarks come a month after the IOC awarded L.A. the '28 Summer Games, and at a time when many expect the corruption investigation into the awarding of the Rio Games to expand.