Statement by Lloyd D Ward and letter from Acting USOC President Bill Martin

By USOC | March 01, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
Statement from Lloyd D. Ward "In the hope that we can shift the focus back to the athletes and the ideals of the Olympic movement, I have decided to resign as Chief Executive Officer of the United States Olympic Committee, effective today. I do so with a deeply ingrained belief that I have served the USOC and the Olympic movement constructively and with integrity. It is my steadfast belief that the USOC should never lose sight of its primary mission, which is to provide support for America's athletes. Senators McCain, Stevens and Campbell are well-advised to address the governance process at the USOC. It is no coincidence that the USOC has had 11 CEOs and 10 volunteer presidents since 1978. Clearly, competing interests within the USOC have placed its CEOs in an untenable, if not impossible role. My hope is that the governance structure at the USOC be clarified at an early date to eliminate the backbiting we who have been CEO have endured. In addition, it is my hope and expectation that the governance transformation be done in such a manner as to reclaim the Olympic ideal for America's athletes, and for society at large. I am proud of the things we have accomplished in my short tenure at the USOC, and offer my thanks and appreciation to the hundreds of men and women on staff at the USOC and our National Governing Bodies who dedicate their time, talent and energy each day in support of our athletes. I look forward to the day that the USOC implements the structural reforms necessary to make it an efficient organization operating in the best interest of our Olympic athletes. I remain resolute in my admiration and support for the thousands of young men and women who give so much of themselves competing under USOC auspices for an opportunity to bring gold and glory to the United States." Letter from Acting USOC President Bill Martin March 1, 2003 Faxed to 719-632-4180 Mr. Lloyd D. Ward One Olympic Plaza Colorado Springs, CO 80909-5760 Dear Lloyd: It is with regret that I express my agreement that you have reached the appropriate decision in asking to be relieved of your responsibility as Chief Executive Officer of the United States Olympic Committee. Your action accords with what I believe we both regard as the paramount issue -- assuring the credibility of the Olympic movement in the United States at a critical time. I know that I speak for the members of the Executive Committee - indeed for the USOC Board of Directors - in expressing appreciation to you for giving a higher priority to the well-being of the U.S. Olympic program than to your own self-interest. I want to thank you for your resolute commitment to the thousands of young men and women who have dedicated themselves to participating in the Olympic program. The initiatives that you have undertaken and implemented as CEO will be of lasting benefit to our athletes and to the Olympic mission overall. Your comments on the need for major change in the USOC governance structure are well taken. Hopefully, that will soon come about. We can both regret that, in a real sense, you have been a casualty of what is now being generally recognized as an untenable governance process. Let me close by wishing you well in your future endeavors. Sincerely, Bill Martin Acting President, United States Olympic Committee