Probst, Blackmun put U.S. in Olympic chase

Fri Jan 9, 2015 1:24pm EST
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - U.S. Olympic Committee officials Larry Probst and Scott Blackmun have spent years crisscrossing the world mending fences and their global charm could result in the Summer Games returning to America for the first time in 28 years.

Confident they have built enough goodwill within the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take a run at hosting another Olympics, the USOC announced on Thursday it would put forward Boston as a candidate city for the 2024 Summer Games.

If Boston claims the sporting world's biggest event, it will be in large part due to the tireless efforts of USOC chairman Probst and chief executive Blackmun in restoring America's good-standing following years of bitter disputes that alienated the Olympic family.

Longtime Canadian IOC member Dick Pound credits Blackmun and Probst for polishing the USOC's tarnished reputation and bringing the U.S. back to a welcome place at the Olympic table.

"They have been a good tag team," Pound told Reuters in a telephone interview from Florida on Friday. "Both of them in their particular functions have been very well-received internationally.

"They made Larry an IOC member and Scott Blackmun is a first-class chief executive officer and (they) have a good understanding of the movement and the responsibility of the United States within it."

"The U.S. was often not present at meetings, saying "what's the point we have no particular interest in going", and I think they realized that it helps to be seen, to be present."

Certainly the USOC's influence is on the rise with four IOC members, Probst, Anita DeFrantz, Jim Easton and Angela Ruggiero.   Continued...

USOC chairman Larry Probst (left) and USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun (right) address the media in a press conference following the USOC board of directors meeting at Hotel Sofitel San Francisco. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports