USOC critic, Chicago bid chief join advisory panel

BY foxsports • December 11, 2009

One of the U.S. Olympic Committee's most outspoken critics and the leader of the unsuccessful bid to bring the 2016 Games to Chicago are among those who will help former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue look at the way the federation does business. Skip Gilbert, the chairman of the National Governing Bodies Council, and former Chicago 2016 CEO Pat Ryan were among the 13 people named Thursday to join Tagliabue on a USOC advisory panel that is supposed to deliver its findings in March. Gilbert led a group of disgruntled leaders of American Olympic sports who disagreed when Stephanie Streeter was surprisingly named acting CEO of the USOC in March. Ryan was the front man for the Chicago 2016 bid that finished last in the voting last month when the International Olympic Committee awarded the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro. That was the culmination of a difficult eight-month span for the USOC that indirectly led to the forming of the advisory panel chaired by Tagliabue. The former commissioner will look at the board, and the structure of the committees within the board, as a major part of the project. "Your key committees should reflect your key priorities as an organization," Tagliabue said. "So if you feel development of top athletes is key, you need to have an athletic development committee." Same, he said, for another of the USOC's big priorities - expanding the Internet and TV footprint of Olympic sports, especially in non-Olympic years. "The formation of this committee is absolutely the right step," USOC Board member Mike Plant said. In 2003, after hearings in Congress, the USOC board was trimmed from about 125 people to 11 as part of a major overhaul of the governing body. Some critics are concerned that the panel's findings could lead to more upheaval. Tagliabue said those he has spoken to want to continue on paths that worked after the 2003 reorganization. "And a lot of what I heard was, "Where we missed the mark, let's see why we missed it and do what we can to correct it,"' he said. When Streeter became CEO, Gilbert and others complained that the move took them by surprise and there was little transparency in the way the board operates. The board has already tried to remedy that by making minutes of its meetings available online; that is expected to begin Monday, when the board holds its quarterly meeting in San Francisco. Other members of the advisory panel: Ann Cody (paralympian), Courtney Johnson (water polo silver medalist), Jim McCarthy (former USOC board member), John Naber (swimming gold medalist), Jeanne Picariello (Multi-Sports Organizations Council), Matt Van Houten (Athletes' Advisory Council), Brian Whitcomb (AAC), David Brandon (CEO of Domino's Pizza), Raul Fernandez (co-owner of Washington Wizards and Capitals), Hugh Price (CEO of National Urban League) and John W. Thompson (chairman, Symantec Corporation).