USOC to form task force on possible Olympic bid
Leadership at the U.S. Olympic Committee expects to form a task force to study the possibility of bidding for an upcoming Olympics.
The USOC board met briefly Thursday but did not discuss a potential bid. Afterward, chairman Larry Probst said another meeting would be scheduled for next week, during which the board would hold preliminary discussions about a bid strategy.
''I think it's likely we'll create a subcommittee or task force to go away, talk about the process, the timing, and come back with a recommendation so we can move forward sooner rather than later,'' Probst said.
Last month, the USOC solved a long-simmering feud over revenue sharing with the International Olympic Committee. It was considered the major roadblock to an upcoming bid, and with that resolved, the USOC is willing to consider bidding again.
On Wednesday, an exploratory committee in Denver endorsed a plan to bid for the 2022 Winter Games if the USOC decides to go that direction. Along with deciding whether to bid, one of the USOC's biggest initial decisions will be whether to try for a Summer or Winter Games.
Chicago finished in last place in the 2016 bid process - games that eventually went to Rio de Janiero. New York finished fourth for the 2012 Games, which take place in London next month.
''Obviously, getting the IOC agreement squared away gives us so many more opportunities to build on our relationship, not only with the IOC but with the worldwide movement,'' CEO Scott Blackmun said. ''It gives us flexibility to bid and we'd made it very clear that we didn't think it was in our interest to bid until that was behind us.''
Also on the international front, Anita DeFrantz, a U.S. member of the IOC since 1986, announced she would seek a spot on the IOC executive board. U.S. input at the highest level of the IOC has been considered key to the USOC's efforts to bolster its reputation.
DeFrantz was elected to the executive board in 1992 and became the first woman elected as an IOC vice president in 1997, serving a four-year term ending in 2001. She ran for the presidency in 2001, but finished a distant last in the four-person race with nine votes in an election won by Jacques Rogge. In 2007, DeFrantz ran for the executive board but received just six votes in the four-person contest.
''We are fully supportive of Anita and we'll do anything we can to assist,'' Probst said. ''It certainly couldn't hurt a potential bid. We wish her the best of luck.''
The meeting Thursday had originally been scheduled for San Jose, Calif., but those plans were canceled when wildfires near USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs forced 40 federation employees out of their homes.
Blackmun said there are 18 Olympics-bound athletes training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs - most of them wrestlers, modern pentathletes and shooters - and he didn't think the fires would have a ''material impact on the readiness of our team.'' He said he needed more time to see how USOC staffing in London would be affected.
Also on Thursday, the board agreed to require all national governing bodies to have a safe-sport policy in place, likely by no later than 2014. Over the past 18 months, the USOC created a task force that adopted a policy designed to prevent sex abuse in Olympic sports. In March, the federation distributed a new handbook to help coaches and athletes deal with sexual and physical misconduct in sports.
But there was no requirement that every sport have a policy in place.
''We all agree unequivocally that it was really important and couldn't imagine circumstances where an NGB didn't at least have a policy where they said, `Look, this isn't something we tolerate,''' Blackmun said. ''Obviously, they all work to fight the issue. But at a minimum, we'd be making a mistake if we didn't require everyone to have a policy.''
AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson in London contributed to this report.