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08/16/2009

Back track on Olympic TV helps Chicago

The US Olympic Committee has done an about face on an issue that was undermining support for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Games.  Bowing to pressure and anger by many members of the International Olympic Committee, USOC Chairman Larry Probst announced in Berlin today that plans to launch an Olympic-themed television channel will be delayed indefinitely.

 

“The USOC has decided to delay further development of the Network until we have resolved all issues of concern to the IOC,” Probst said in a statement following a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge. 

 

The USOC announced plans for the television channel earlier this summer with little prior consultation with the IOC.   The announcement was greeted with concern by many IOC members who worried  an Olympic television channel in the United States would devalue the broadcast rights for the winter and summer Games.  It was also seen as a sign of arrogance and disrespect by the US Olympic Committee for their international partners.  Money maters have long complicated the IOC/USOC relationship and sparked resentment toward the United States.

 

“We applaud Larry Probst and the USOC for making a strong statement of partnership by stating that the USOC would secure the full support and cooperation of the IOC before moving forward,” Chicago 2016 Chairman Pat Ryan said. “It is important not only for the USOC and IOC relationship, but also for the USOC’s role within the Olympic movement.”

 

Behind-the-scenes, Chicago’s bid team has been working to shore up relations with IOC members and reassure them Chicago would be a respectful partner should they award Chicago the Games.

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