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Change But No Controversy for USOC

After years of bitter and occasionally embarrassing changes in leadership, the U.S. Olympic Committee will quietly elect a new chairman of its board in the next few weeks.

The four-year term of Peter Ueberroth winds uncontroversially to its close, a welcome change for USOC leaders who remember the conflict that divided the organization, spurred Congressional hearings and forced a massive organizational overhaul shortly before the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.

It is unclear who will replace Ueberroth. A nominating committee led by 1996 Olympic silver medal winner Jair Lynch, a Washington resident, has been appointed to select two people from outside the organization to join the board and replace Ueberroth and Erroll Davis, whose term also expires this year.

The selections will be made by mid-October, when the organization gathers for its annual Olympic Assembly in Orlando. (Bob Ctvrtlik departed the board after the Beijing Summer Games since his term as an International Olympic Committee member expired, leaving the current board at 10 members.)

The new chair will then be selected from among the reshaped board, no later than during the Oct. 8-12 Olympic Assembly.

Prior to Ueberroth's term and that of chief executive Jim Scherr, who began as an interim CEO in 2003 but was given the position in full in 2005, four chief executives and four presidents led the USOC between 1999 and 2003--and nearly all departed amid controversy.

Norm Blake replaced Dick Schultz as CEO in 2000, but left after only nine months because of differences with then-president Sandy Baldwin. Baldwin was forced to step down after it was revealed she lied on her resume. Lloyd Ward followed interim CEO Scott Blackmun, but he was forced out after getting caught up in an ethics controversy involving allegations that he tried to steer USOC business to a relative.

The president at the time, Marty Mankamyer, also was forced to step down a month before Ward resigned in March, 2003, over charges that she leaked confidential information to the media.

By then, Congressional leaders were demanding answers as to why the USOC, which had been created out of legislation in 1978, couldn't behave itself. That scrutiny led to the restructuring that slimmed the USOC's board of directors from 125 to 11.

Ueberroth and Scherr guided the slimmed-down organization into a new era marked by increasing prosperity and heightened professionalism but one major setback: The failure of New York in 2005 to win the 2012 Summer Games. Chicago is bidding for the 2016 Games, which will be awarded next summer.

By Amy Shipley  |  September 16, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  U.S. Olympic Committee  
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