IOC wants USOC turmoil settled quickly

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

GENEVA -- The IOC wants quick action but intends to stay clear of the U.S. Olympic Committee while it sorts out the turmoil that has shaken the organization.

"The crisis cannot continue for months, and the IOC is hopeful that it will be resolved soon," IOC president Jacques Rogge said.

Rogge called the trouble at the USOC an "unhappy situation" and said he hoped beleaguered chief executive Lloyd Ward still has a future with the organization.

Congress has urged a major restructuring of USOC, which has weathered numerous scandals and leadership changes.

"The IOC is preoccupied by the situation within USOC but will not interfere in the process," Rogge said during a conference call Monday. "There are good people within USOC. It is just a matter of finding a good balance between elected and professional people."

Ethics charges against Ward in December led to a reprimand by USOC and denial of his $184,000 bonus. He had been accused of trying to steer Olympic contracts to his brother's company.

USOC president Marty Mankamyer and five other USOC members resigned this year, a top sponsor threatened to pull out of a multimillion-dollar deal and Congress has twice called on USOC officials to testify.

The USOC agreed this month to create a task force to recommend ways to streamline operations.

The disarray will be among the issues facing the IOC executive committee when in meets Thursday. Other subjects to be discussed include the size of the Olympic program and broadcasting rights.

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