Larry Probst re-elected as USOC chair

Share This Story

Updates with details. With AP Photos.By EDDIE PELLSAP National Writer

Once considered a reluctant conscript to the U.S. Olympic Committee, Larry Probst now embraces his role.

So much, in fact, that he's staying on for another four years.

The USOC board unanimously voted in Probst for a second term as chairman, a position the 62-year-old chairman of the Electronic Arts video game empire has used to try to shore up America's standing in the international Olympic community.

CEO Scott Blackmun said he welcomed another four years with Probst, whom he called ''the ideal partner for me.''

''He really holds us accountable but in a supportive way,'' Blackmun said. ''He's laser-focused on strategy and policy and that gives us the freedom to manage the day-to-day. But he also does that in a way that keeps us motivated.''

Probst replaced Peter Ueberroth as chair in late 2008, a time that led to turmoil, when the federation suddenly ousted its former CEO, Jim Scherr, and replaced him with a member of the board, Stephanie Streeter.

It was an unpopular move in almost every corner and Probst didn't do a great job articulating the reasons for it. Critics, and there were many, said Probst, a successful veteran from the bottom-line, corporate world, wasn't built for the glad-handing, politic-heavy role that he had assumed. Many wondered if he would stick around the job for long.

But Probst refocused himself and embraced his role, along with the daunting task of rebuilding the image of a federation that was widely viewed as a rich bully that didn't much care about the concerns of its global partners.

One of the few ways members of the International Olympic Committee could make the USOC pay for its recalcitrance was by humiliating it when it came time to award future Olympic Games. In 2009, it took that opportunity, banishing Chicago to fourth place in a four-way race for the 2016 Olympics, eventually won by Rio de Janeiro.

The biggest roadblock in Probst's restoration project was managing the tough negotiations that led to an agreement earlier this year on the USOC's long-simmering feud with the IOC over revenue sharing.

''To me, whether we win the Olympic Games is a little bit out of our control,'' Blackmun said. ''What's in his control as the leader is the fact that he's trusted by people we do business with and people in the Olympic movement and that we're taken seriously. Larry has already achieved that. ... That's going to be his legacy, is that he's part of this worldwide movement.''

Also on Thursday, the board filled spots being vacated by Jair Lynch and Mike Plant with Bill Marolt, the president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, and Whitney Ping, a member of the U.S. 2004 table tennis team.

Marolt, a skier for the U.S. Olympic team in 1964, has 16 years leading what is widely considered the most successful national governing body in Olympic sports.

''One of the hallmarks of Bill's career with the USSA has been the growth of our sphere of influence in both the (international ski federation) and USOC,'' said Dexter Paine, chairman of the USSA board. ''That has had a direct impact on our own athletic success, but has also has been instrumental in the development of Olympic sport.''

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


Olympian Van Dyken injured in ATV accident

Posted: Jun 09, 2014
America's Pregame provides an update on the condition of former Olympic swimmer ...

Phelps clocks fastest qualifying time in return

Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Michael Phelps clocks the fastest qualifying time in 100-meter butterfly at the ...

Clark claims 7th US Open halfpipe crown

Posted: Mar 09, 2014
Watch Kelly Clark land the first-ever cab 1080 en route to claiming her 7th win ...

Gold wins US Open halfpipe

Posted: Mar 09, 2014
Watch Taylor Gold's US Open-clinching run in the halfpipe, featuring an epic Fro...

Blind skier prepares for 2014 Paralympic Games

Posted: Mar 07, 2014
Blind skier Staci Mannella pushes the limits as she prepares for the 2014 Paraly...

Fox Sports Store